Vaginal fissures are characterized by cracks, tears or abrasions appearing on the vagina. Multiple conditions can contribute to the development of vaginal abrasions, all of which are curable with patience and proper treatment. As a women’s health issue, these fissures are sometimes mistaken for genital herpes or for sexual trauma.
When vaginal abrasions occur, they are either visible or felt on the vaginal lining. A variety of conditions may contribute to vaginal disorders such as this one. For instance, fissures may occur during vaginal childbirth or may be directly attributed to vaginal dryness. The latter is especially the case as a woman ages and a loss of estrogen creates vaginal dryness, which may then lead to vaginal tears. Hormonal changes surrounding a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle and recurring yeast infections may also contribute to the development of vaginal fissures.
Sexual intercourse without proper lubrication is one of the most common causes of vaginal abrasions. Occasionally, women report that the friction from latex condoms also produces cuts and tears. Once fissures are present, clothing, exercise and athletic activities may further aggravate the area and increase healing times. Health experts recommend that women with a history of these fissures or excessive dryness never engage in intercourse without using a lubrication product.
Vaginal abrasions may also occur in young girls, particularly if children have developed a yeast infection or have suffered a recent injury to the sensitive vaginal lining. Fissures may be more difficult to diagnose on a child depending upon location and size of the tear, as well as the child’s communication abilities. Women with vaginal fissures often described the tears as feeling like a paper cut. In children, such a description may be felt, but not so easily seen by a caretaker or communicated by the child. It is not uncommon for a young girl who complains of stinging or burning, especially during bath time or bathroom activities, to be, in fact, suffering from vaginal fissures.
Although painful, these fissures are not considered a major health concern. Most will go away if left alone, but many women do report cases of recurring vaginal abrasions. When tears are recurring, it is necessary to locate the root cause of injury and eliminate it to avoid future abrasions. Doctors will sometimes prescribe estrogen creams or birth control pills for the treatment of fissures. By manipulating estrogen levels to avoid vaginal dryness, many women report success using these methods, particularly when treating recurring fissures.