Coronavirus patient, 19, suffers painful ulcer on her vagina due to a rare complication

Coronavirus-infected woman, 19, suffers painful ulcer on her vagina due to a rare complication from the disease

  • Unidentified 19-year-old, from Colorado, struggled to use the toilet due to pain
  • Inflammation caused by Covid infection had damaged skin tissue on the vagina
  • Doctors said it was the first known cause of the disease causing a genital ulcer

A coronavirus patient in the US suffered a painful ulcer inside her vagina due to a rare complication from the disease, doctors say.

The unidentified 19-year-old, from Colorado, tested positive for Covid after being taken to hospital with a cough, sore throat, fevers, and a rash across her body.

After being sent home to rest and isolate, she began experiencing pain in her vagina which saw her return to hospital just two days later.

Doctors found she had developed a 2cm-wide ulcer, which left her struggling to walk and in extreme pain when she used the toilet. 

After running a series of tests, the medics concluded her sore had been caused by Covid. It is thought to be the first documented case of its kind and adds to the list of unusual side effects linked to the disease.

Doctors are unsure of exactly how Covid triggered the ulcer but claimed it may have been the result of inflammation or her weakened immune system.

Many people who get infected suffer inflammation as a natural result of their body trying to fight the infection, which can irritate the skin and cause rashes.

Having a weakened immune system also makes it easier for other common bacteria to enter the body and do damage. 

A coronavirus patient in the US developed a painful ulcer on her vagina due to a rare complication from the disease (stock photo)


Doctors from the University of Colorado who treated the patient diagnosed her with an aphthous ulcer, a type of benign and non-contagious sore.

It is the first time the symptom – a common variety of ulcer that form on the mucous membranes  – has been linked to Covid.

The cause of aphthous ulcers is unclear, and there is no cure. They are more common in the mouth, but in rare cases they form in the genitals.

It is thought they are brought about by one or a combination of triggers that weaken the immune system.

Triggers include: stress, an injury, deficiency of certain vitamins and/or minerals, infections or hormonal changes.

Aphthous mouth ulcers affect around one in five people at least occasionally and most commonly begin to appear between the ages of 10 and 19. 

It may also be partly genetic, with 40 percent of people who experience ulcers having a family history of the condition.  

Many people who fall ill with Covid suffer inflammation as a result of their body trying to fight the infection, which can irritate the skin.

Having a weakened immune system also makes it easier for other common bacteria to enter the body and do damage.

The woman was readmitted to hospital and given strong painkillers, alongside the steroid dexamethasone, which calms the immune system down as it fights Covid. 

She was discharged after two days and was advised to urinate in the bathtub to lessen the pain when using the toilet. 

The woman made a full recovery after two weeks, doctors wrote in the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology.

Doctors from the University of Colorado who treated the patient said: ‘In conclusion, this case highlights a novel association of Covid infection with vulvar aphthosis [vaginal ulcer] in an adolescent. 

‘It has been recognized that vulvar aphthous ulcers occur in response to systemic EBV [Epstein-Barr virus] CMV [cytomegalovirus], and viral gastroenteritis, and now has been documented in response to coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.’

The case report was published on February 15 but it is unclear when the patient was admitted to hospital. 

When the immune system defends against infection it lets off lots of inflammatory products that are designed to fight viruses, known as cytokines.

In some people the immune system can go into overdrive and these substances begin attacking healthy cells, including on the skin. 

The case in Colorado comes after a Covid patient in Ohio suffered a painful three-hour erection due to a different complication of the virus.

The unidentified 69-year-ol was diagnosed with the condition, known medically as priapism, while in hospital with a severe bout of Covid last autumn.  

Writing in The American Journal of American Medicine, medics who treated him said they believed Covid had caused blood clots in his penis.  

An ice pack was applied to the patient’s penis to try to bring the swelling down but the stiffness persisted for three hours. 

Doctors then had to drain the blood from his penis using a needle. While the priapism did not return, the patient died in ICU when his lungs eventually failed.  

It is believed that the same cytokine storm caused the blood in his penis to clot.