What Is the Mons Pubis?

Medically Reviewed By Angelica Balingit, MD
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The mons pubis is the upside-down triangle of skin and fatty tissue that covers the pubic bone and joint connecting the pelvic bones. Sometimes called a pubic mound, the mons pubis is covered in pubic hair after puberty. 

Sex and gender exist on a spectrum. This article uses the terms “female” and “male” to refer to sex that was assigned at birth. 

Learn more about the difference between sex and gender here.

In this article, we discuss the mons pubis anatomy, function, and conditions involving the mons pubis that can cause pain or bumps.

What is the mons pubis? 

Image of a female stretching
Maria Korneeva/Getty Images

In people born with genitalia associated with females, the mons pubis is part of the anatomy of the vulva, which also includes:

  • labia majora
  • labia minora
  • clitoris
  • vestibular bulbs
  • vulva vestibule
  • Bartholin’s glands
  • Skene’s glands
  • urethra
  • vaginal opening 

In males, the penis and urethra are attached to the mons pubis.

The mons pubis is larger and more prominent in females. During puberty in males and females, pubic hair starts to grow on the mons pubis.

In females, the fat tissue in the mons pubis is sensitive to estrogen, so during puberty, it grows larger. During menopause, when estrogen decreases, the mons pubis gets smaller and less prominent.

What is the anatomy and function of mons pubis?

The larger mound of tissue of the mons pubis in females provides a cushion during sex. The sebaceous glands within the mons pubis release pheromones that arouse sexual partners.

Males and females sometimes experience pain in the mons pubis area for various reasons.

What causes pain in the mons pubis?

Although concerning to many people, pain in the mons pubis area is not typically from a long lasting or serious medical condition. Many of them are temporary and quickly resolved.

Folliculitis

Bacterial or fungal infections cause inflammation of pubic hair on the mons pubis. Folliculitis sometimes is itchy and sore, and you can often use over-the-counter antibiotic lotions to clear it up. Most cases, however, will resolve on their own. Severe cases may require treatment with antibiotics.

Make sure to shave in the direction the pubic hair is growing to avoid developing folliculitis.

Skin infections

Bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus infect the root of the pubic hair and cause boils, also called abscesses. These are often red and painful and become pus-filled.

Try using warm compresses to help the boil drain, but do not pop a boil. Visit your doctor if a boil is large and difficult to manage at home.

Osteitis pubis

Osteitis pubis is a chronic inflammation of the pubic symphysis joint beneath the mons pubis. It causes pain in the lower belly or pelvic region that can extend out to the thighs.

Doctors do not really know what causes osteitis pubis but common reasons include muscular imbalances, hip biomechanics, and conditions such as psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

Osteitis pubis affects more males than females, often athletes. In fact, osteitis pubis accounts for about 10-18% of injuries in male soccer players each year. Runners are also prone to developing osteitis pubis.

Doctors often help people with osteitis pubis pain heal with a combination of physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, and rest. 

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

Directly under the mons pubis in males and females, the pubic symphysis joint sits between the right and left pelvic bones and helps the pelvis support the weight of your upper body. Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) causes pain in the pubic symphysis joint. 

Although males and females can develop SPD, people who are pregnant most often experience SPD, also called pelvic girdle pain (PGP).

SPD also might cause a clicking or grinding sensation in the pelvis area. It can cause pain while walking, standing on one leg, moving around in bed, and getting out of a car. Physical therapy can help ease the pain of SPD, so it is important to speak with your doctor about any mons pubis pain during pregnancy.

Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia is a collective term for pain in the vulva without a specific cause that lasts at least 3 months. In females, the mons pubis area is part of the vulva and may experience pain due to vulvodynia.

People diagnosed with vulvodynia sometimes describe it as either burning, stinging, or throbbing pain. Doctors are unsure what causes vulvodynia, but trauma, sensitivity to Candida yeast, and pelvic floor muscle spasms are potential causes.

Pelvic floor dysfunction can occur with vulvodynia, so doctors may prescribe pelvic floor therapy.

Learn more about vulvodynia.

What causes bumps on the mons pubis?

Occasionally, the skin or fatty tissue of the mons pubis develops bumps. They often are not serious. However, you should contact your doctor about any bumps you find on your mons pubis.

Acne

Sometimes acne can develop on the mons pubis area because of a buildup of oil, bacteria, yeast, or fungus growth in skin pores. These often look flesh-colored with small bumps filled with pus, just like how they appear on your face.

Ingrown hair

Shaving pubic hair can cause ingrown hair, which happens when the tip of a hair folds back into the skin. This causes red itchy bumps to appear in the area where you shaved. You can prevent ingrown hairs by not shaving. Try a different hair removal method, such as hair removal creams. Always shave in the direction of the hair, if you do shave.

Cysts

Ingrown hairs or blocked hair follicles can form harmless bumps filled with fluid called cysts. If a cyst is painful, contact your doctor. You can sometimes manage cysts at home, but they may require medical treatment.

Learn more about cysts from ingrown hairs.

Genital warts

Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes genital warts, which can grow on or around:

  • mons pubis
  • vagina
  • anus
  • penis

Genital warts are a common sexually transmitted infection. You can prevent HPV and genital warts by getting the HPV vaccination and using a condom or other barrier method during sexual activity, especially with new or multiple partners.

Learn more about genital warts.

Mollusca

Mollusca are small, smooth round bumps on the skin. They are the result of a virus molluscum contagiosum.

They are often the same color as your skin tone, white, or pink. Mollusca may not appear only on the mons pubis, but also in the other areas of your groin, thighs, or stomach. Contact your doctor if you suspect mollusca because they are highly contagious and can become infected.

Skin tags

As you get older or gain weight, skin tags are increasingly common. They are excess flaps of skin but can rub on your clothing and cause pain. Skin tags often do not require treatment. However, if you have one that concerns you, contact your doctor to discuss removal options.

Learn more about vaginal skin tags.

Summary

The mons pubis is a cushiony fat pad that sits directly in the middle of the pelvic area over the pubic symphysis joint in males and females. In puberty, it grows much more prominent in females and is covered in pubic hair.

For females, the mons pubis functions as a protective cushion during sex and houses glands that release chemicals to attract sexual partners. Sometimes people experience pain in the mons pubis, but typically it is not serious or the result of a chronic condition. Pain in the mons pubis while pregnant can limit mobility, but physical therapy can help ease the pain, so it is important to tell your doctor about it.

Sources

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Medical Reviewer: Angelica Balingit, MD
Last Review Date: 2022 Aug 10
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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