Genital skin lesions often quickly invoke thoughts of sexually transmitted diseases — and rightfully so, in many cases. "Pimple-type lesions" can also be caused by numerous non-sexually transmitted things, however.
Let's take a look at the possible causes of pimples between the legs, and what action you need to take if you notice them.
- What's that? Folliculitis is a milder inflammation of, typically, multiple hair follicles. This can occur as the result of little scrapes and cuts, which then become infected with bacteria — typically Staph.
- What does it look like? Folliculitis looks like little, slightly angry, bumps surrounded by red skin. They may be itchy. In the genital area, they can appear anywhere you have hair — so not inside the vagina or on the vulva itself, nor on the glans of the penis, but in the pubic area.
- What now? Nothing much. Folliculitis is often caused by bad shaving habits (which is why it's called known as "razor bumps", so make sure to shave with new razors and use shaving cream. Avoid synthetic and tight underwear.
- What's that? Boils or furuncles are deeper infections of hair follicles, also usually caused by Staph. They appear near the genitals, around the buttocks, and on the upper thighs quite often.
- What does it look like? Boils start out as slightly red bumps, after which they grow larger and take on a dome shape. A pus-filled yellow head will appear in its center at the top. They can grow quite large and can also be recurrent. As with razor bumps, boils cannot occur in areas where no follicles are present.
- What now? Use hot, moist compresses to ease discomfort and speed up healing. Don't pierce the boil. It should heal on its own in about two weeks.
Genital 'Pimples' Caused By Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- What's that? Genital warts, genital herpes, and syphilis can all lead to skin genital skin lesions.
- What does it look like? You won't describe genital warts as pimples, since they look like, well, warts. Genital herpes looks like blistery pimples anywhere around your genitals, however, and syphilis infections usually present with a single, round, sore upon infection. More lesions can appear in later stages.
- What now? Anyone who has any symptoms of what they think might be a sexually transmitted disease should visit their family doctor, an OBGYN, or a sexual health clinic. Syphilis, which can cause an awful lot of problems if left untreated, can be eliminated quite easily in its initial phase. Genital warts can be a struggle to get rid of, and require freezing, burning, or surgery. The herpes virus always stays with you once you have it, but antiviral treatments can help you with outbreaks.
- What's that? Molluscum contagiosum is a contagious viral infection that can appear anywhere on the body.
- What does it look like? Like tiny, red, raised pimples. There are usually quite a lot of these.
- What now? Molluscum contagiosum goes away on its own without any treatment.
Anyone who has something that looks like pimples between their legs — whether on the genitals themselves or in the general area — is absolutely right to consult a doctor if they aren't sure what they are dealing with. Your "pimples" may be caused by a harmless and self-limiting condition, but could also be the result of something more sinister that requires treatment. Don't remain in the dark, and see a doctor unless you're really quite sure you know exactly what you are dealing with.
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