The clitoris is the only organ which is known for having the sole function of providing sexual pleasure for the female body. It is not involved in urination, getting pregnant or menstruation. Swollen clitoris can be caused by a variety of reasons including a bacterial or fungal infection, or a hair getting inside a small hole at the top of the clitoris. The build-up of fluids, a blockage, allergies or an infection could all lead to swollen clitoris. Read on to learn how you can deal with swollen clitoris and other clitoris problems.

What Causes a Swollen Clitoris?

  • ŸHair. One of the most common reasons the clitoris can become swollen is a hair getting stuck in this area. You can often see the offending hair using a magnifying glass so it can easily be removed.
  • ŸTrauma or injury to the clitoris during masturbation or foreplay such as grazing the clitoris with a long fingernail could cause it to swell. Providing this area with fresh air and avoiding excessive contact for a few days should allow it to heal.
  • ŸClothing or allergy. You may also find that friction from tight clothing or an allergy to the soap you use to wash your clothes could cause irritation and swelling around the clitoris.
  • ŸA small cyst known as a Bartholomew’s cyst could cause a blockage in the area which provides lubrication for your clitoris. This might go away on its own but your doctor can provide a remedy if it does not.
  • ŸFungal and bacterial infections could also cause swelling around the clitoris. These may fade on their own but if they do not after a few days or your symptoms appear to be getting worse you should talk to your doctor.

When to Worry

Swollen clitoris is not necessarily something to worry about. This is often caused by fluid leaking from the blood vessel into the clitoral tissue. The swelling should reduce within two days. If you are very uncomfortable or your symptoms last longer, see your doctor.

Other Clitoris Problems and How to Deal with Them



How to Treat It

Sore clitoris

The clitoris becomes sore after sex or constant pressure.

Moisten the clitoral area before sexual activity to prevent irritation. Apply a bland cream every 8 hours to ease the pain.

Haematoma of the clitoris

Swelling and tenderness that lasts for up to a week. This may include small amounts of bleeding.

Refrain from sex until the swelling and discomfort is gone.

Clitoral pain

Pain not caused by sex, often around the vulva.

See your doctor for treatments for vulvodynia.

Itchy clitoris

The clitoris or other areas around the vagina become itchy and inflamed. You may see a white discharge.

This may be thrush. Apply an antifungal medication or take an oral antifungal. Treat your sexual partner as well.


Swelling of the clitoris caused by an allergy to chemicals.

Determine what condoms, bubble bath, spermicide, vaginal cream or other product is causing these symptoms and avoid those products.

Excessively small clitoris

The belief that your clitoris is too small.

There is no medical reason for the clitoris to be too small. The actual organ is only around the size of a pea at its visible point.

Excessively large clitoris

When sexually aroused the clitoris will expand. In some cases it could become excessively large.

If the size of the clitoris has not changed due to haematoma it could be an intersex or hormone problem. A gynecologist can provide a diagnosis.

Lack of clitoral sensitivity

A lack of sex drive or trouble reaching orgasm.

The clitoris may not be getting stimulated properly during sexual activity. Some choose to remove the hood over the clitoris but this is not recommended.

More Interesting Facts About Clitoris

  • ŸIt’s quite sensitive. The clitoris contains as many as 8000 nerve endings compared to the 4000 in the penis which makes the clitoris one of the most sensitive areas on the body.
  • It can be quite large. Only around a fourth of the clitoris is visible outside the body with the rest being tucked inside you. Parts of the clitoris include the clitoral head, urethral sponge, hood, clitoral shaft, vestibular bulbs, crura, erectile tissue and glands.
  • Some try to move it. Some have tried to move the position of their clitoris surgically to increase pleasure. Unfortunately, this is not known to be effective.
  • It resembles a penis. When babies develop in the womb their genitals begin with the same development pattern. They are made of the same tissue and both swell when aroused. Later they will develop into the clitoris or penis.
  • The clitoris grows. During a woman’s lifetime the clitoris will grow due to hormonal changes in the body. By the end of puberty the clitoris will be 1.8 times larger. It will be 4 times larger by age 32.
  • All women have one. All female mammals have a clitoris but humans are one of few that use this organ for sexual pleasure. Other animals experience pleasure in different ways.
  • It controls most orgasms. Some women experience vaginal orgasms but most achieve orgasm by direct stimulation of the clitoris. Each woman will have their own preferences for how this should be done.
  • Some alter the clitoral appearance. Some use plastic surgery to increase the sensitivity of their clitoris or alter its appearance. This is not recommended unless surgery is being used for treatment of a condition that causes discomfort.
  • All clitorises are unique. The clitoris can vary greatly in their size, position and how they respond to pleasure. Knowing how your clitoris looks and works can make it easier to understand how to protect it and what brings pleasure.