Burning. Itching. Throbbing. Whether it’s mild or intense, vaginal pain is something that most of us have experienced at some point in our lives.
In this article, we’ll dive into the causes and treatment options for this common but uncomfortable condition.
At first, you might not think the mild discomfort you’re experiencing down there is a big deal. This is because vaginal pain can sneak up on us – it may start out mild, as a slight twinge or an itch – and then increasingly get worse, leading to burning or sharpness. But it’s important to identify it as such so you can treat the issue before it becomes chronic – a condition known as vulvodynia or vulvar pain.
It’s important to remember that experiencing vaginal pain is not uncommon, and you’re not alone in dealing with it.
Vaginal pain can have a variety of different causes. We’ll explore some of them – along with the symptoms that accompany each – below.
One of the most common causes of vaginal pain is an infection. Yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia or gonorrhea can all lead to discomfort and pain. If you suspect an infection, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Hormonal fluctuations can affect the health of your vaginal tissues. Conditions like vaginal atrophy, often experienced during menopause, can cause dryness, irritation, and pain.
Allergies and irritants
Vaginal pain can also result from allergies or sensitivities to certain products, such as scented soaps, detergents, latex condoms, or personal lubricants. Scented products and soaps should be avoided. It’s advisable to always check the ingredients. For personal lubricants be sure they are FDA cleared. Identifying and avoiding these triggers is the first step towards relief.
Muscular and nerve issues
Sometimes, the pain can be due to issues with the muscles and nerves surrounding the vaginal area. Conditions like vaginismus, which causes involuntary muscle spasms, or pudendal neuralgia, which affects the pudendal nerve, can lead to significant discomfort.
Painful sexual intercourse
You may also notice vaginal pain due to a condition called dyspareunia – or painful sexual intercourse. Typically, this stems from changes in hormones causing a lack of vaginal lubrication. It can also be due to lack of sexual arousal.
Stress, anxiety, and emotional factors can influence the perception of pain in the vaginal area. Addressing these psychological factors through therapy or relaxation techniques may help manage and alleviate pain.
Now that you understand what causes vaginal pain, let’s explore some treatment options so you can get the relief you need.
For infections, your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medications.
Simple changes like switching to hypoallergenic products, wearing cotton underwear, and practicing good hygiene can go a long way in reducing irritation and discomfort.
For conditions related to muscle and nerve issues, pelvic floor physical therapy can be highly effective. A trained therapist can teach you exercises to relax and strengthen the pelvic muscles.
Seeking help from a therapist or counselor can be incredibly beneficial if psychological factors are contributing to your vaginal pain. Techniques like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help manage stress and anxiety.
Over-the-counter or prescription topical creams, gels, or ointments can help you manage your vaginal pain. Check out our Mia Vita Personal Lubricant product for relief from pain, irritation, dryness, and burning.
Surgery (in rare cases)
In some severe cases, surgical interventions may be considered, but this is usually a last resort when other treatments have failed.
Remember, if you’re experiencing vaginal pain, you’re not alone, and there are options for relief. Your first step is always to consult a healthcare professional to determine the cause of your pain and create a personalized treatment plan.
No matter the cause, it’s essential to prioritize your vaginal health and seek the help you need to live a pain-free and comfortable life. Don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns openly with your doctor, as they are here to support you in your journey to better vaginal health.
FemmePharma has been helping women navigate menopause for over two decades. No matter where you are in your journey, you deserve to have knowledgeable, intimate healthcare partners to help you feel your best. Explore our other articles, podcast episodes with women’s health experts, and products to ease your transition into menopause.