Already have an account?
Get back to the

Expert Advice: ‘I Noticed a Pea-Sized Lump on My Labia. What Is It?’

It may be nothing to worry about.

Noticing any sort of problem in or around your vagina is a scary thing. Yet staying calm is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Firstly, in almost all cases, it’s best to make an appointment with your OB/GYN to figure out what’s wrong. A medical exam can rule out many different conditions and help you determine what’s going on. Most importantly, a diagnosis will help you get on the right treatment path.

Fortunately in many cases, the issue is nothing to worry about. That’s what happened this week when a reader wrote in to our expert, Dr. Barbara DePree, for advice on a lump near the vaginal opening. You might think the worst at first — a lump may be a tumor. However, it could easily be benign. Below, find out how to get rid of it safely at home.

Meet our expert.

Barbara DePree, MD, is a gynecologist in private practice and director of Women’s Midlife Services at Michigan’s Holland Hospital. A Certified Menopause Practitioner, she is the founder of, an educational resource for women’s sexual health in perimenopause and beyond. To ask her a question, send an email to

A Lump Near the Vaginal Opening

Q: While showering after my workout I noticed a pea-size lump on my labia near the vaginal opening. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s bothersome. What is this?

A: It sounds like a Bartholin’s cyst, named after the glands that secrete vaginal-lubricating fluids and sometimes get clogged with mucus. It’s unclear why these blockages occur, but the good news is that they are less common after menopause (when the glands shrink), don’t typically cause pain unless infection occurs (marked by redness, pus or fever), and are usually no cause for concern.

Tight clothing can irritate a Bartholin’s cyst, so it’s best to opt for loose pants and underwear made of 100-percent cotton. To help the cyst drain, try soaking the area by filling a bathtub with three to four inches of warm water or applying a warm washcloth three times daily for 15 minutes. But if these strategies don’t work or if the cyst becomes tender or painful, your doctor can drain it with a simple in-office procedure.

Note: There are other types of vaginal cysts that can occur. If you have a lump that is sore or painful, or you have discolored skin around the area, itching, burning, or unusual bleeding or discharge, make an appointment with your OB/GYN as soon as possible.

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First for Women.

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.