What is vaginal swelling? Swelling of the vagina can be generalized or may be present only in a limited location. Generalized swelling is known as edema. Edema results from fluid filling the tissues and may be associated with normal-looking, red or blotchy overlying skin. In inflammation, the skin is often swollen and red and may be warm to the touch. Edema may be due to problems with the blood vessels or lymphatics (small, thin vessels that carry tissue fluid) and can also follow trauma. Inflammation can be due to allergy, irritation or infections. Allergy and irritation may be due to exposure to soaps, feminine hygiene products, perfumes, lubricants, douches, creams, or latex. Yeast infections and genital herpes are infections that can cause generalized vaginal swelling. An uncommon cause of generalized vaginal swelling is Fournier’s gangrene, a severe and life-threatening bacterial infection of the genital area that spreads from the urinary or gastrointestinal tracts. Defined areas of swelling may be due to cysts or abscesses. Cysts of the vaginal wall can result from birth trauma or may form around Gartner’s ducts, ducts that form during fetal development and typically disappear after birth. Some vaginal tumors can also cause cysts. Bartholin’s glands, glands located on either side of the vaginal opening, can fill up with fluid, which can become infected and form abscesses. The first step to treating vaginal swelling is identifying the cause. Inflammation may be treated by avoiding exposure to any irritants or allergens that can be identified. Antifungal drugs can be given to treat yeast infections, and antiviral drugs may be used to manage genital herpes symptoms. Cysts and abscesses may need to be drained or removed; antibiotics may be used for abscesses. Vaginal swelling may be due to a treatable condition or may be a sign of a serious medical condition. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you have vaginal swelling accompanied by severe pain, severe swelling, high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), or excessive vaginal bleeding. If your vaginal swelling is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.