Although the term “vaginal cuts” may sound a little scary, they occur often in women who are sexually active. These small abrasions, cuts, and tears are usually not serious, but they can be uncomfortable and bothersome.
“Vaginal cuts are relatively common, even in women who don’t have any underlying abnormality,” says Grace Evins, MD, a gynecologist.
The most common cause of tiny vaginal tears or cuts (apart from childbirth) is penetration during sex, according to UW Medicine.
Fortunately, most vaginal cuts aren’t medically serious. If you know the cause and think it’s superficial, a visit to the doctor isn’t necessary, UW Medicine says. But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss them as no big deal. The discomfort caused by vaginal cuts can make sex unpleasant and can affect your overall quality of life.
The good news is that there are tools and strategies to help prevent cuts from happening in the first place. Read on to find out what the experts say.
What Causes Vaginal Cuts?
When you’re aroused, the vagina naturally produces fluids that lubricate the area during sexual activity, reducing friction that can irritate or tear the vaginal tissue. But many variables can affect how much lubrication your body produces. And if there isn’t enough natural moisture created, tearing can occur.
“Vaginal dryness is often part of the problem, because dryness creates friction, and that’s the main reason the tears and abrasions occur,” says Dr. Evins.
Other factors play a role in vaginal dryness.
Menopause “The vagina has natural defenses to reduce the chance of injury. In the presence of estrogen, which is much higher in premenopausal women, there are many factors that create an environment that’s more resilient and less vulnerable to damage to the superficial skin or vaginal mucosa,” Evins explains.
For starters, estrogen improves blood flow to the area, which helps keep the vagina moist, she says. The hormone also helps maintain the thickness of the vaginal lining and keeps the surrounding tissue flexible (also called elasticity).
Post-menopausal women have lower levels of estrogen, which can cause thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal walls, all of which make vaginal cuts more likely, says Evins.
Not enough foreplay Sexual excitement causes the secretion of vaginal fluids. If you skip foreplay or you don’t spend enough time getting turned on, your body doesn’t have a chance to create the natural lubrication that can make penetration more comfortable and less likely to result in tearing, according to UW Medicine.
History of abuse Although this is not the most common cause of vaginal dryness, a history of sexual abuse can affect a woman’s relationship to sex, according to the Sexual Medicine Society of North America.
“Abuse can disrupt the stages of sexual response in women, beginning with arousal and lubrication. Women who have fear around past experiences of painful rather than pleasurable encounters will have more dryness as a result,” says Evins.
Additionally, painful and traumatic experiences in the past during sex may cause a woman’s body to guard against future pain, she says.
“In anticipation of a repeat painful experience, women may involuntarily contract the powerful pelvic muscles narrowing the aperture of the vagina, creating greater friction with penetration. Another word for this involuntary muscle contraction is vaginismus,” says Evins.
Pelvic floor muscles “Tight or overactive pelvic floor muscles can cause decreased blood flow to the vagina and vulvar tissues. That impacts vagina tissue health, making it more likely to be thin and dry,” says Ashley Rawlins, PT, DPT, a doctor of physical therapy who specializes in pelvic and obstetric health at Origin Physical Therapy in Dallas.
Pelvic floor issues can also make penetration more difficult, says Dr. Rawlins. “If those pelvic floor muscles that surround the vaginal opening aren’t releasing, relaxing, and opening for penetration, it can put more stress on the tissue and leave you more at risk for injury,” she says.
Other causes of vaginal cuts Sex toys are sometimes made of materials that are irritating to the skin, or they might have sharp or rough edges. Even a tampon that rubs against you the wrong way may cause tiny tears, says Rawlins.
How Can Vaginal Cuts Be Prevented?
Since vaginal dryness is often responsible, increasing wetness in the vagina during sexual activity is often the best way to go. The following are some ways to do this.
Lubricant, also called lube, is a very helpful tool with any sort of penetration, says Rawlins. “These products have come a long way. Gone are the days when there were just one or two options,” she says.
Water-based lubricants Water-based lubes are most common, says Rawlins. “You may have to do some label reading because there are some key differences between products,” she says.
Before buying, make sure the lube doesn’t contain irritating ingredients, such as paraffins, propylene glycol, glycerin, petroleum, or petroleum-based ingredients. “These can increase the risk for irritation, bacterial overgrowth, and even infection, which can further impair the skin’s health,” says Rawlins.
Rawlins also recommends avoiding lubes that have scents and tastes, or that “heat” things up. “These can irritate mucosal tissue, especially if it’s already dry or sensitive.”
Flavored lubes contain sugar and can cause yeast infections, according to the University of Texas in Austin’s University Health Services.
Natural oils Olive oil and coconut oil are natural, and some women really like them, says Rawlins. But oils can stain fabric and undermine the strength of condoms, increasing the risk of breakage, per UT Austin University Health Services.
Silicone-based lubricants “These lubes are very popular, in part because they tend to last longer than water-based lubricants,” says Rawlins.
If you’re using sex toys or vibrators made with silicone, be aware that silicone-based lubes can break down that material and cause tiny cracks in the devices, she says. “And that may cause bacterial growth which can then be transmitted to you or your partner when using it later,” says Rawlins.
Rawlins recommends trying different kinds of lubricants to find the one that suits you. “It is very individual. Don’t just take a friend’s recommendation, because what they like might not be what’s best for you.”
The improved moisture that typically results from foreplay reduces friction and the possibility of vaginal cuts, says Evins. Increased foreplay gives the vagina the time (and motivation) to naturally lubricate itself.
When having sex that involves penetration, certain positions may make vaginal cuts or painful friction more likely, says Evins. “Try positions that allow women more control to reduce the likelihood of vagina cuts,” she says.
Post-menopausal women who have issues with vaginal dryness can talk with a provider about using an FDA-approved vaginal estradiol product. Available by prescription, the therapy comes in different forms, including creams, tablets, and vaginal suppositories, says Evins.
If your provider determines that your vaginal cuts are related to pelvic floor overactivity, a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor issues may help, says Rawlins.
Why You Should Disclose Your STI Status to Your Partners
In the vibrant city of Kumasi, Ghana, a tale of love, honesty, and courage unfolded. Meet Ama, a compassionate and determined young woman, and Kwame, a kind-hearted and understanding man. Their love story was one that transcended barriers, as they learned the importance of disclosing their STI status to each other.
As their relationship blossomed, Ama found the strength to open up to Kwame about her STI status. She understood that this conversation was crucial for the well-being and trust within their relationship. With a pounding heart and a sense of vulnerability, Ama mustered the courage to disclose her status, unsure of how Kwame would react.
To her relief, Kwame listened attentively, appreciating Ama’s honesty and her courage to share such a sensitive matter. He assured her that he respected her openness and cared deeply for her well-being. Together, they embraced the importance of transparency and understanding in their relationship.
Recognizing the significance of this conversation, Ama and Kwame embarked on a journey of learning and understanding. They sought guidance from healthcare professionals who provided them with accurate information about the specific STI, its transmission, and the necessary precautions to maintain their sexual health.
With newfound knowledge, Ama and Kwame fostered open lines of communication about their sexual health and desires. They acknowledged that disclosing one’s STI status not only promoted trust and respect but also allowed them to make informed decisions about their intimate lives.
Ama and Kwame understood that their journey would involve taking necessary precautions to ensure their sexual health and prevent the transmission of the STI. They diligently followed the guidance provided by healthcare professionals, including the use of barrier methods and regular check-ups.
Their journey was not without challenges, but they faced them together with unwavering support and understanding. Ama and Kwame recognized that their love extended beyond physical intimacy, and their commitment to each other grew stronger through the trials they faced.
Through their experience, Ama and Kwame learned that disclosing one’s STI status is not only an act of responsibility but also an act of love. It fosters an environment of trust, empathy, and support within a relationship. They discovered that honest communication and education were powerful tools that could strengthen their bond and deepen their connection.
As their love story continued to unfold, Ama and Kwame became advocates for sexual health within their community. They shared their experience and knowledge, encouraging others to have open and honest conversations about their sexual health with their partners.
And so, dear reader, the story of Ama and Kwame teaches us that love and honesty go hand in hand. It reminds us of the importance of disclosing our STI status to our partners, as it fosters trust, respect, and responsible decision-making within our relationships. In the vibrant city of Kumasi, Ama and Kwame celebrated their love, empowered by their openness and the unbreakable bond they had formed.
How to Cope With (and Fix) Vaginal Dryness-Naa’s Story
In the serene coastal town of Cape Coast, Ghana, a tale of love and resilience unfolded. Meet Naa, a vibrant and compassionate woman, and Kwame, her devoted partner. Their love story was one of unwavering support and a shared determination to navigate the challenges they faced, including the delicate issue of vaginal dryness.
As time passed, Naa began to experience vaginal dryness, a condition that not only affected her physically but also had an impact on their intimate moments. Sensing Naa’s discomfort, Kwame approached the situation with empathy and a deep desire to find a solution that would allow their love to flourish.
With open hearts and a commitment to their relationship, Naa and Kwame embarked on a journey of understanding and exploration. They recognized that vaginal dryness could be caused by various factors, including hormonal changes, stress, certain medications, and even certain hygiene products.
Together, they sought advice from healthcare professionals who specialized in women’s health. They learned about the various treatment options available, such as lubricants, moisturizers, and hormone therapies. Naa, supported by Kwame’s unwavering presence, sought medical guidance to address any underlying causes contributing to her condition.
In addition to medical interventions, Naa and Kwame discovered the power of open communication. They fostered an environment where discussing their desires, fears, and concerns surrounding intimacy was not only accepted but encouraged. They explored the importance of foreplay, embracing longer periods of arousal and engaging in sensual activities that nurtured their emotional connection.
Naa and Kwame also embarked on a journey of self-discovery. They learned about the power of self-care, embracing practices that nurtured Naa’s overall well-being. They prioritized stress reduction techniques such as meditation, exercise, and engaging in activities they both enjoyed. This allowed Naa to reclaim her sensual identity, free from the pressures that accompanied vaginal dryness.
As they navigated the complexities of vaginal dryness together, Naa and Kwame discovered that their love was not solely defined by physical intimacy. They realized that emotional connection, trust, and open communication were the pillars that held their relationship strong.
Naa and Kwame explored the beauty of intimacy beyond traditional notions. They embraced the power of touch, focusing on sensual massages, extended periods of foreplay, and finding pleasure in exploring new erogenous zones. They learned to be patient with one another, acknowledging that vulnerability and understanding were vital elements in overcoming the challenges they faced.
With time, patience, and a deep commitment to their love, Naa and Kwame found solace in the fact that they were not alone on this journey. They discovered that there is no shame in seeking support or guidance, as they realized that many couples face similar challenges.
And so, dear reader, the story of Naa and Kwame teaches us that love conquers all obstacles. It reminds us that addressing and coping with vaginal dryness requires patience, understanding, and a shared commitment to exploring new avenues of intimacy. In the picturesque town of Cape Coast, Naa and Kwame celebrated their love, embracing the beauty of their connection and the strength they found in facing challenges together.
Prostate Cancer: What It Means for Your Sex Life
In the quiet neighborhood of Osu, nestled in the heart of Accra, Ghana, a love story unfolded, weaving together the delicate strands of devotion, resilience, and the unwavering spirit of two souls. Meet Kofi and Akua, a couple whose love stood tall in the face of adversity as they navigated the impact of prostate cancer on their sex life.
Kofi, a kind-hearted and strong-willed man, was diagnosed with prostate cancer, sending shockwaves through their once blissful existence. Akua, a pillar of strength and unwavering support, stood by his side, ready to face the challenges that lay ahead.
As Kofi embarked on his journey of treatment and recovery, both he and Akua realized that their love was not confined to physical intimacy alone. They understood that their connection ran far deeper, rooted in a bond forged by shared dreams, trust, and unwavering companionship.
In the intimate moments of vulnerability, Kofi and Akua openly discussed the impact of prostate cancer on their sex life. They shed tears, shared fears, and explored the options available to them. They sought advice from medical professionals who specialized in cancer care, learning about the potential side effects of treatment and the strategies to navigate them.
Through their research and candid conversations, Kofi and Akua discovered that prostate cancer treatment might cause changes in sexual function, including erectile dysfunction and decreased libido. Armed with knowledge, they embarked on a journey to find new ways to connect and experience pleasure.
They explored the power of communication and trust, recognizing that open dialogue was key to understanding each other’s needs and desires. They learned to embrace the changes and limitations imposed by the illness, finding solace in the knowledge that love transcends physicality.
Kofi and Akua delved into the realm of intimacy, discovering alternative avenues of pleasure and connection. They explored sensual touch, engaged in passionate kisses, and discovered the beauty of emotional intimacy. They embraced the power of non-sexual acts of love, realizing that affection, understanding, and emotional support were the building blocks of their relationship.
They sought guidance from sexual health professionals who specialized in assisting couples affected by cancer. With their support, Kofi and Akua learned techniques to enhance pleasure, utilizing aids and devices that could bring them closer together.
As their journey unfolded, Kofi and Akua discovered a newfound depth to their love. Their intimate moments became a testament to their resilience, strength, and the power of unwavering support. They found solace in the understanding that love is not defined by physical abilities alone but by the profound emotional connection they shared.
And so, dear reader, the story of Kofi and Akua reminds us that love can triumph over adversity. It teaches us that while prostate cancer may pose challenges to a couple’s sex life, it is an opportunity to explore alternative forms of connection and deepen the bond that holds them together. In the vibrant neighborhood of Osu, Kofi and Akua proved that love is not defined by the presence or absence of physical intimacy, but by the unwavering support and unwavering commitment to stand by each other’s side through life’s trials.