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What are Vaginal Fissures?

Laura M. Sands
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

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Laura M. Sands
By Laura M. Sands , Former Writer
Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing to her work. With a background in social sciences and extensive online work experience, she crafts compelling copy and content across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a skilled contributor to any content creation team.

Discussion Comments

By anon331989 — On Apr 26, 2013

I recently had intercourse after a few months. I was very dry and every time I douche, I feel something round and hard, and my vagina seems to have increased in size al though the man I was with does not have a big penis.

By anon326085 — On Mar 20, 2013

I have some skin coming out of my vagina, and have bleeding after sex or when I wash my vaginal area with hot water. What is it? Is it a fissure or something else?

By anon313994 — On Jan 15, 2013

For me it is not because I am embarrassed but it is my build. I am built very small and any kind of examination is very painful and uncomfortable. I don't go very often to the gym for those very reasons. Embarrassment has nothing to do with it in my case.

By anon262759 — On Apr 20, 2012

Thank you for posting this. I have vaginal fissures and didn't know what they were. Thanks for the help.

By indemnifyme — On Jun 20, 2011

@JaneAir - It does sound ridiculous but I can understand why a women might put off going to the doctor for certain symptoms. Sometimes I catch myself ignoring health concerns and thinking they will just go away on their own! A lot of women don't want to risk an uncomfortable exam for something that might correct itself or might not be that big of a deal.

By JaneAir — On Jun 18, 2011

@ceilingcat - It's been my experience as well that a lot of women tend to put off going to the doctor for reproductive system problems. That's terrible that your friend with the cancer symptoms waited so long to see medical attention.

I don't know why so many other women feel shy about this! I think a lot of female reproductive problems like vaginal fissures are probably a lot more common than we think. Since so many women seem so reluctant to go to the doctor I'm sure the numbers are off by a lot!

By ceilingcat — On Jun 16, 2011

Women's health concerns are not taken seriously enough in this country. If there was some equivalent of this for men I'm sure it would be considered a "major health concern".

I also think a lot of women are too embarrassed to talk amongst themselves about women's health issues and even to go to the doctor about it. One of my friends had cervical cancer a few years back. She's fine now but she recently told me she was having cervical cancer symptoms for months before she finally went to the doctor!

Maybe we should take a cue from men, who on the whole aren't embarrassed about their bodily functions. I'm sure if more women went to the doctor as soon as something was wrong a lot more conditions could be caught and treated early.

Laura M. Sands

Laura M. Sands

Former Writer

Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing...
Learn more
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