Yes, maggots could potentially hatch and grow in your vagina, but this medical condition is extremely rare
- Vaginal myiasis is so rare that only a few case studies have explored this condition in humans.
- It happens when flies lay eggs in the vaginal area — the larvae that hatch and feed on vaginal tissue.
You probably don't need to worry about maggots making a home in your vagina, but this very rare condition, known as myiasis of the vagina, does affect a handful of people.
Fly larvae cause this parasitic infection, which can lead to itching, wounds, and the death of vaginal tissue.
Two major factors increase your odds of developing this infection: open wounds in the vaginal area and physical location.
Vaginal myiasis most commonly affects people living in tropical and subtropical climates, and most cases develop in the summer.
People who lack secure housing and adequate bathing facilities, or live in poor sanitary conditions, are also more likely to experience vaginal myiasis, says Kimberly Langdon, obstetrician and gynecologist at Medzino.
Here are the facts about this rare condition.
How it happens
Female flies lay up to 300 eggs at a time in a warm, high-nutrient environment — in this case, the human vagina. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the host's body, causing a range of infestations.
Those maggots become adult flies in a week and lay their own eggs in a similar environment, continuing the cycle.
However, vaginal myiasis cases in humans can affect your:
As noted above, one of the biggest risk factors for vaginal myiasis is open wounds or sores in the genital area. Other medical conditions associated with chronic wounds, like diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, can also increase your risk.
Signs and symptoms
Over a few days the bump will grow and develop a pinpoint at the center, which allows maggots to breathe when they hatch.
You might also notice some movement in your skin on and around the bump — this suggests live maggots in the area.
While the rarity of this condition means that research remains limited, case studies cite the following symptoms:
- New or unusual vaginal discharge, often accompanied by a foul odor
- Severe itching in the vaginal and perineal area
- Inflammation or swelling in the genital area
- Vaginal bleeding and sores
- Necrotic growth, or death of vaginal tissue, which may appear as dark spots in the genital area
- Severe pain or pain that increases over time in the genital area
What do these maggots look like?
The maggots, or larvae, that cause myiasis in humans are typically born from blowflies or houseflies.
These larvae may resemble worms, and they can grow up to an inch long. You may notice they appear pale white, off white, or yellow.
Maggots may appear translucent or transparent, with no eyes and a wide mouth.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may have to stay in the hospital for a couple of days while you receive antibiotics intravenously to prevent any secondary infections. If you have milder symptoms, the physician may send you home with a prescription for antibiotics and ivermectin.
Myiasis isn't deadly, but without treatment, it can lead to more tissue death and open wounds in the genital area. These wounds and sores can increase your risk of STIs and affect your overall health.
Without medical intervention, maggots may also keep growing in your body.
Myiasis in humans, especially in the genital area, is extremely rare. If you think you have vaginal myiasis, your doctor can help diagnose and treat this condition, typically with surgery and antibiotics.
While research remains in the early stages, treatment and prevention are relatively straightforward. Cleansing open wounds and treating health concerns, like STIs, that might contribute to myiasis will significantly reduce your chances of developing this already uncommon condition.
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