Most people notice skin changes occasionally throughout their lifetimes. Lumps and bumps, rashes and discolorations affect the body's surface. Allergies, exposure to the sun, illness and the aging process--including menopause--can all contribute to changes in the skin. These changes can be worrisome, particularly when they are noticed in the genital region. Lumps on and around this part of a woman's body may be cause for concern, particularly during menopause.
A common site for skin problems is the female labia. The external female genitals (or vulva) include the labia majora, labia minora, and clitoris. The labia majora are also called the outer lips, while the labia minora are called the inner lips. According to Harvard Health Publications, the labia are vulnerable to a variety of skin conditions, including several that cause bumps to appear on the labia.
Appearance of Labial Bumps
With noticeable bumps on the labia, it is important to note any accompanying symptoms to arrive at a comprehensive diagnosis. For example, the bumps may be painful or itchy or be accompanied by a vaginal discharge. Bumps on the labia may appear alone or in clusters. They may be hard lumps or more like blisters. Being able to describe the appearance and occurrence of the bumps will help a health care professional know how to treat them.
Menopause's Effect on the Labia
Menopause can create additional skin problems in the labial area. During menopause, a woman's ovaries begin to slow down. Ovaries are responsible for the production of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, and their decrease affects the external genitals of the female, including the labia. The labial skin can become thinner and weaker because of the decrease in hormones. Vaginal dryness is another symptom of menopause, which makes the labial area more susceptible to trauma and infection.
While menopause itself may not cause bumps on the labia, it can create an environment where a variety of skin conditions can occur. These include cysts from impacted sweat glands, blocked hair follicles, viral infections, and sexually transmitted diseases such as genital herpes. A health care professional can provide a thorough physical examination and determine not only the cause of labial bumps, but the treatment as well.
Harvard Health Publications report that most genital skin conditions are highly responsive to treatment. If changing hormone levels from menopause are contributing to skin problems on the labia, a physician may recommend hormones or topical lubricant to help ease symptoms like thinning of the labial tissues or vaginal dryness. Natural changes to these delicate tissues may require some lifestyle changes as well. Something as simple as wearing looser clothing or switching to a milder soap or laundry detergent can reduce irritation to sensitive labial skin and help keep it healthy.