The mons pubis is a pad of fatty tissue that covers the pubic bone. It’s sometimes referred to as the mons or the mons veneris. While everyone has a mons pubis, it’s often more prominent in people with a vulva.
Read on to learn more about the anatomy of the mons pubis, as well as the possible causes of pain or bumps in the area.
The mons pubis is located over the pubic bone and the pubic symphysis joint. The pubic bone is one of the three parts of the hip bone. It’s also the frontmost facing portion of the hip bone. The pubic symphysis joint is where the pubic bones of the left and right hips join together.
The mons pubis is made up of fatty tissue. It’s shaped like an upside-down triangle, extending from the top of the public hairline to the genitals. It extends from the top of the pubic hairline to the top of the sex organs.
During puberty, the mons pubis becomes covered in pubic hair.
Symphysis pubis dysfunction
Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) occurs when the symphysis joint of the pelvis becomes too relaxed, leading to pain in the pelvic girdle. It’s usually related to pregnancy or giving birth.
Widening of the symphysis joint is a normal part of the body’s preparations for vaginal birth. It usually doesn’t cause any lasting issues with the joint. However, when temporary changes to the joint cause pain, it can make daily life more difficult during pregnancy.
The main symptom of SPD is pain. It can be felt as a shooting, burning, or grinding sensation. This pain might be felt:
- over the pubic bone
- between the vagina and anus
- on one or both sides of the lower back
- radiating into the thighs
SPD can also make it hard to:
- walk around
- lift objects
- move the legs apart
While SPD tends to occur more during pregnancy, it doesn’t always have a clear cause. In these cases, it may be related to instability of the pelvic girdle.
The following factors can also increase your risk for developing SPD:
- a history of pelvic pain
- previous damage or injury to the pelvis
- having experienced SPD during a previous pregnancy
- working a job that’s very physically demanding
Treating SPD often involves a combination of rest and physical therapy to help strengthen the pelvic floor. When SPD happens during pregnancy, symptoms usually improve after giving birth.
In rare cases, the symphysis joint can widen too far or separate when giving birth. This can cause severe pain after birth. While it can often be treated with rest and physical therapy, sometimes surgery is needed to stabilize the joint.
Osteitis pubis is an inflammation of the symphysis joint of the pelvis, which sits under the mons pubis. It often occurs in athletes.
The main symptom of osteitis pubis is pain in the pubic or groin area. It often radiates to the thighs. This pain may come on gradually or suddenly.
Osteitis pubis is usually caused by overuse or stress of the pelvic muscles or hip. In rare cases, it may be related to pregnancy, a urological or gynecological procedure, or a rheumatic condition.
Similar to SPD, osteitis pubis is usually treated with rest, followed by gentle strengthening exercises. Anti-inflammatory medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroid injections, can also help manage inflammation.
Bumps on the mons pubis can have many different causes.
If you notice changes to your skin in this area, it’s important to see your doctor to find out what’s causing it. You should seek treatment for bumps that don’t heal or keep coming back.
A boil is a painful, pus-filled lump that forms under the skin. They’re caused by bacteria entering the skin through an open wound or cut. While boils can occur anywhere, they’re more common in hair areas, such as the mons pubis.
Boils look like deep, red bumps under the skin. They may grow in size over the course of a few days as they fill with pus. Eventually, they’ll develop a white or yellow tip, similar to that of a pimple. This will eventually break, allowing the pus to drain out of the boil.
While small boils often resolve on their own, your doctor may need to drain larger boils.
A cyst is a saclike area within a tissue. Cysts are typically noncancerous and can be filled with a variety of things, including fluid, tissue, or bone. They can occur anywhere in or on the body.
Cysts can occur due to a variety of reasons, including:
- clogged gland
The symptoms of a cyst can vary depending on the type of cyst and its location. Most appear as a slow-growing bump. Over time, they may become tender or painful.
Similar to boils, smaller cysts may go away on their own. Your doctor may need to surgically remove or drain larger ones.
An ingrown hair refers to a hair that’s growing back into the skin, usually after being shaved or tweezed. People who remove their pubic hair are particularly prone to ingrown hairs.
The symptoms of an ingrown hair can include:
- small, solid or pus-filled bumps
- skin darkening of the affected area
Avoid shaving or tweezing the affected area to treat ingrown hairs. Eventually, the hair will work its way out of the skin. In some cases, the hair can be teased out using tweezers or a sterile needle. In more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe an exfoliating or anti-inflammatory ointment.
Folliculitis refers to inflammation of hair follicles. A bacterial or fungal infection is typically the cause. Because the mons pubis is covered in pubic hair, it’s more vulnerable to folliculitis.
Common folliculitis symptoms include:
- small red bumps or pimples that appear in clusters
- tender or painful skin
- a burning sensation on the skin
- a larger, swollen lump under the skin
Some common behaviors that can increase your risk for developing folliculitis include:
- wearing tight clothing that traps sweat or heat
- using a poorly maintained hot tub
- damaging hair follicles through waxing or shaving
Most cases of folliculitis will go away on their own after a few days. Applying warm compresses or soothing lotions or ointments can help ease skin irritation.
If the folliculitis is widespread or lasts longer than a few days, a doctor’s visit may be necessary. They can prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal cream to help clear up any underlying infection.
Other causes of bumps on the mons pubis include:
- hidradenitis suppurativa, a long-term condition that causes recurrent boils or cysts in your armpits or groin area
- a sexually transmitted infection, such as genital warts
- skin tags
- a benign (non-cancerous) or cancerous growth
While many bumps are harmless, it’s important to see your doctor if you notice changes to the skin in your genital area. They can provide a diagnosis, rule out other causes, and get you started with any necessary treatments.
Like every part of the human body, the mons pubis naturally varies in appearance from person to person. Everyone’s mons pubis is different, and there’s no “right” or “normal” way for the mons pubis to look.
Some elective cosmetic surgery procedures claim to alter the appearance of the mons pubis. This may involve liposuction or removing skin. However, there is little evidence to support the the safety and effectiveness of elective cosmetic surgeries in the genital area.
The notes that cosmetic surgery is different from surgery that people pursue for medical reasons. Medical reasons for genital surgery include gender affirmation and conditions affecting the pelvic region.
Unlike medically-necessary surgeries, elective cosmetic surgeries are not supported by research data. These surgeries also come with serious risks.
Risks of surgery include:
- pain and chronic pain
- dissatisfaction with surgery results
The mons pubis is an area of fatty tissue that covers the pubic bone. It tends to be more prominent in people with a vulva.
It may provide some cushioning for the pubic bone and the pubic symphysis joint.
If you notice bumps or changes to your skin in this area, you should see your doctor.