If you’ve been trying but often experience irritation in the outer part of your vagina during sex, chances are you have hymenal caruncles. These are small tag-like elevations of the hymen that you can see after the hymen breaks.
Sometimes they are so small that you may not even notice them. And while they often shrink over the years, they can cause irritation and discomfort to some women.
So, don’t ignore the symptoms and visit your gynaecologist if those tags are troubling you. Your doctor may suggest a removal depending on your symptoms and the severity of the case.
As you are aware, a ruptured hymen can occur due to various reasons. For instance, it may break while during heavy physical exercise, injury or doing intercourse. So how does it give rise to this medical condition?
Hymenal Caruncle: How To Identify If You Have This Condition?
Hymenal tags may stick off the edge of the hymen. | Image courtesy: iStock
After the hymen breaks, it may leave behind a few tags. These tags are pink in colour and are usually seen in the form of a ring around the vaginal opening. They may stick off the edge of the hymen.
On most occasions, you won’t even be able to notice them because they are very small.
It is very common to confuse them with hymenal polyps. But, here’s what you should remember – hymenal caruncle offshoot from the edge of the hymen while polyps form on the hymen itself.
Hymenal Tags May Change Or Appear Due To Childbirth
Visit a doctor incase of any discomfort. | Image courtesy: iStock
Interestingly, a hymenal caruncle may also change or appear as a result of childbirth. If you give birth vaginally, you may experience tearing in the hymenal tissue.
The tissue may heal into a different shape than before, giving the appearance of tags.
It can also happen the other way around. If you previously had hymenal tags, you may find that these remnants are gone after vaginal delivery. This could be a result of the baby pushing through the vagina, disrupting and tearing these tissues.
Hymenal Caruncle: Diagnosis
Doctors can usually diagnose them on sight during a physical exam. But, they may perform few tests if it is not clear from where your tags originated. These exams include:
Pelvic exam: It is when the doctor visually and physically examines the woman’s reproductive organs. During the exam, the doctor inspects the vagina, cervix, fallopian tubes, vulva, ovaries, and uterus.
Pap smear: A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a procedure to test for cervical cancer in women.
Biopsy: It is a sample of tissue taken from the body in order to examine it more closely.
Once the reports of these tests are out, your doctor will be able to understand more about your problem. They will advise the recommended treatment based on these results.
Are Hymenal Tags Painful?
These tags are almost always benign and they usually don’t cause any discomfort. However, you may experience some irritation and this could be due to the friction from your underwear, during masturbation, or sex.
When the irritation is severe, you may notice that the tags have swollen. In case of these discomforts, do consult your doctor immediately.
Hymenal Caruncle: Treatment
If the discomfort is severe, your doctor may recommend minor surgery to remove the hymenal caruncle. | Image courtesy: Pixabay
The doctor may recommend treatment based on the severity of your case. For instance, in mild or infrequent cases, your doctor will likely recommend home care. This may include:
Applying a cold compress
Taking over-the-counter (OTC) medicines
Avoiding strenuous activity unless the symptoms subside
But, if the symptoms continue to cause major discomfort to you, the doctor may recommend minor surgery to remove the tags.
Yes, you may have cold feet when you hear the word “surgery.” But it’s a quick one and you can go home on the same day itself.
Hymenal Caruncle Surgery: What You Need To Know
Hymenal caruncle removal can be done at your doctor’s office. It usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes.
Your doctor will ask you to lay back with your knees up and heels in stirrups for a pelvic exam. The area is cleaned with a cotton swab and injected with local anaesthesia.
Once the area is numb, your doctor will use a sterile surgical tool to cut the tag off of the surrounding skin.
To stop the bleeding a chemical may be applied.
Then the doctor will bandage the area if needed.
Like any surgery, your doctor may also hand over a list of dos and don’ts after your hymenal caruncle operation.
You may experience discomfort or spotting after the procedure. But the good news is that you should be able to resume your usual activities soon. In order to manage spotting, you can wear a panty liner or a thin pad.
So when can you resume sex or start wearing a tampon? It is best to consult your doctor and follow their advice. While hymenal caruncle is extremely common, most of the times we may not be aware of its existence.
In case of any major discomforts, you should immediately get it tested. This is just to be sure that it is not a sign of another underlying condition.