Superficial or simple vaginal cuts typically heal within a week or so. They don’t usually leave any lasting marks or result in any long-term complications. If your symptoms haven’t improved after a few days, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional.

It’s not unusual to develop cuts in the vaginal area after penetrative sexual activity. In many cases, these cuts can heal on their own.

Certain conditions can also make you more susceptible to tears or scrapes in this area. Keep reading to find out more about why they may be happening, how to treat them, and when to seek medical care.

Vaginal cuts are often accompanied by feelings of discomfort, especially during urination, and minor bleeding.

That said, it’s not enough to suspect that you have a cut in your genital area. To properly treat it, you must look at how deep the cut is and determine whether other symptoms, such as pus, are present.

The best way to assess your symptoms is to position a compact or hand mirror so you can see the reflection of your vulva and vagina. Many people find it easier to do this when seated on the edge of a surface, such as a chair, or when lying on their back.

If you cannot see this way, you may be able to assess the cut’s severity by gently touching the affected area. Always wash your hands before and after you touch a wound — especially a wound in the genital area — to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Superficial vaginal cuts are also known as simple cuts or microtears. These kinds of cuts usually heal within a couple of days.

Everyday activities often cause simple cuts, like:

If the cut is superficial, you can follow these steps:

  1. Wash the area with warm water once or twice per day.
  2. Refrain from using harsh or perfumed soaps. These can affect the delicate pH balance of your vagina.
  3. Make sure the area is dry before you get dressed again.
  4. Wear cotton underwear and loose bottoms until it’s healed.

If your discomfort is severe, take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

If the cuts are external — around the vaginal opening or on the inner or outer labia — you can apply a topical medication or barrier ointment to help soothe the area.

For example, you can apply a topical antibiotic like Bacitracin or a barrier ointment such as Aquaphor to help encourage your skin to heal faster. Neosporin is not recommended as a topical antibiotic due to its risk of allergic reaction.

Never apply medication, including antibacterial ointment, inside the vaginal canal unless a healthcare professional directs you to do so.

It’s possible to get a cut in or around your vagina and have no idea what caused it. These cuts are a little deeper than a simple cut, but they’re not gaping and profusely bleeding wounds that you should be immediately concerned about.

Mystery cuts are usually related to or caused by:

Hormone imbalances

It’s common for shifting estrogen levels to make the walls of your vagina thinner and more prone to tearing.

Although fluctuating estrogen levels are usually associated with menopause, they can occur due to other reasons, too. Switching hormonal birth control methods or excessive exercise may be to blame.

Chronic skin conditions

Some skin conditions can make your skin more fragile and prone to tearing. Examples include:

These conditions can all negatively affect the skin on your vagina and vulva. Certain treatments for these conditions, like oral corticosteroids, can also cause your skin to weaken and thin over time.

Vitamin deficiencies

A deficiency in vitamin C or D can weaken your skin tissue strength and cause it to tear more easily.

As with superficial cuts, you can follow these steps:

  1. Wash the area with warm water once or twice per day.
  2. Refrain from using harsh or perfumed soaps.
  3. Make sure the area is dry before you get dressed again.
  4. Wear cotton underwear and loose bottoms until it’s healed.

If you have a previously diagnosed condition that affects skin tissue strength, you may be able to avoid a trip to the doctor. Continue to wash and monitor the affected area for the next few days.

But if you’re not seeing any improvement by the end of the week, or the cause is unknown, make an appointment with a healthcare professional. They can help determine the cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan suited to your needs.

Deep cuts in and around the vagina are often a result of vaginal delivery. These wounds need immediate medical attention. They should not be left to heal on their own.

They can also happen as a result of sexual assault. If you’ve experienced sexual assault or were forced into any sexual activity, it’s important to consult a trained healthcare professional.

Organizations like RAINN offer support for survivors of rape or sexual assault. You can call RAINN’s 24/7 national sexual assault hotline at 800-656-4673 for anonymous, confidential support.

Many pregnant people tear in some way during vaginal delivery. If you have a vaginal cut or tear that results from childbirth in a clinical setting, a healthcare professional should give you detailed instructions on how to care for the area.

If a tear has reopened or a new tear has occurred, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. Delaying care may result in long-term complications.

During the healing process, you may find it helpful to:

  • Rinse the area with sterilized water: Use a small bottle with a narrow plastic tip (sometimes called a peri bottle). A healthcare professional may advise you to rinse every time you use the bathroom or after every cleaning.
  • Wear a menstrual pad for several days: A pad helps draw blood away from the cut and keep the area clean.
  • Take OTC pain relievers: Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help ease discomfort.

If you’ve experienced a sexual assault, avoid trying to treat the wound on your own. A healthcare professional can assess your symptoms and help you care for any lacerations or bruises. They may also prescribe pain relievers or other medication to help you treat your symptoms.

If you have cuts in your vagina, avoid vaginal penetration until the wounds are healed. Penetration could reopen or worsen the cut and introduce new bacteria. This may cause the cut to bleed or swell. It can also lead to infection.

If you do engage in penetrative masturbation or partner sex while your cut is healing, use protection. Penetrative sexual activity without a barrier method, such as a condom, while you have an open wound increases your risk of transmitting or developing infectious diseases.

Afterward, clean the area with warm water and gently pat it dry with a soft washcloth. This can help prevent bacteria from getting into or staying in the wound.

Depending on where your cut is, you may also want to avoid using internal products while it heals.

These include menstrual products, such as tampons, cups, and discs. Using a liner or pad to catch period blood may help speed the healing process.

This also includes some contraceptives, including the vaginal ring or sponge, and things like lube or spermicide.

Simple vaginal cuts usually heal within a week or so. If your symptoms haven’t improved after a few days, make an appointment with a healthcare professional. They can diagnose your symptoms and determine the appropriate course of treatment.