Why Does Your Vagina Burn During Sexual Intercourse?

Sex is meant to give you pleasure. But, when this act of pleasure gives you pain, how can you ignore it? Many women experience a burning sensation during sexual intercourse. This can ruin your sex life and your relationship with your partner. The burning sensation can be intense and can negatively impact your overall well-being.

This medical condition, known as vulvodynia or vestibulodynia, affects over 16 percent of women. Vulvodynia causes extreme discomfort or burning pain in the vulvar area. Thankfully, this condition has no obvious cause such as cancer, infection, herpes, spinal nerve compression or other neurologic disorders. The burning sensation can be so overpowering that leave alone sex, even sitting for a long time can be painful.

Who Does Vulvodynia Usually Affect?

Vulvodynia may affect Caucasian, Hispanic and African American women

Although vulvodynia may usually affect women of all ages, its symptoms are most common among women aged between 18 and 25 and postmenopausal women. Experts believed that it predominantly affected Caucasian women.

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However, recent studies have shown that even African American and Hispanic women are equally vulnerable to this condition.

What Are The Symptoms Of Vulvodynia?

Vulvodynia may cause itching, soreness, and burning sensation

Not all women experience all the symptoms of this condition. Women may experience constant or occasional pain. Since most commonly the reason or provocation of the condition is sexual intercourse, it is often referred to as “provoked vulvodynia”. It may last for months or even years and you may feel pain in your entire vulvar area or only in a specific area, such as the opening of your vagina. Although your vulva may appear normal, the vulvar tissue may be slightly swollen or inflamed. The main symptoms of vulvodynia include,

  • Itching
  • Soreness
  • Burning
  • Stabbing
  • Throbbing
  • Stinging
  • Aching
  • Rawness

What Are The Causes Of Vulvodynia?

Sensitive skin, allergies, and birth control pills may cause vulvodynia

Experts are not sure about the exact causes of vulvodynia.

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But, certain factors can play a role is causing this condition. Some contributing factors may include,

  • Vaginal infections such as yeast infections
  • Hormonal changes due to birth control pills or onset of menopause
  • History of sexual abuse
  • Sensitive skin
  • Allergies
  • Irritation or injury to the nerves around the vulvar area
  • Weakness or spasms of the muscles that support the pelvic organs
  • Genetic factors
  • Previous surgery or laser treatments to the external areas of the vagina

What Are The Treatments And Remedies For Vulvodynia?

Cold compresses, wearing proper underwear, and lubrication can help treat vulvodynia

Though there is no known cure for vulvodynia, many treatment options are available. Effective treatment requires the correct diagnosis by a qualified gynecologist. Most women are treated for many other conditions before the correct diagnosis is performed. If left untreated, women may experience depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, sleep problems, relationship issues, altered body image and reduced quality of life. Some possible treatments and remedies include,

  • Medications: Anticonvulsants, steroids or tricyclic antidepressants may help reduce chronic pain. Addressing hormone changes occurring
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    because of birth control pills or onset of menopause can be beneficial. Antihistamines may reduce itching to an extent.
  • Lubrication: Using water-soluble lubrication during sexual intercourse may help reduce the burning sensation.
  • Cold compresses: Placing cold compresses directly on the external genital area may also help reduce itching, burning, and pain.
  • Proper clothing: Avoid wearing nylon underwear and tight-fitting clothes as they restrict airflow to the genital area. Lack of airflow often creates moisture, which can cause irritation. Wear only 100 percent cotton underwear to maintain dryness and ventilation. If you’re comfortable, avoid wearing underwear while sleeping.
  • Correct bathing: Avoid soaking in hot baths and hot tubs. Soaking in hot water can cause itching and discomfort. Consider soaking twice or thrice a day in a lukewarm water or cool bath for 5-10 minutes. While bathing, use plain water to gently clean your vulva with your hand and pat the area dry. Apply plain petroleum jelly or other preservative-free lubricants after bathing as it creates a protective barrier.