Aside from this, vaginal burning can take place suddenly, and it can also gradually build over a few weeks or months. Vaginal burning can also be an underlying symptom for a sexually transmitted disease, and it is the first visible sign that tells if one has an infection.
Causes of Vaginal Burning
Vaginal burning can make it difficult to regularly perform certain activities in your life. It can also affect one’s sex life and ability to reach an orgasm. Good thing it is treatable, as long as you determine its cause. Here are the possible causes of vaginal burning.
• Yeast infection – also known as thrush or candidiasis, yeast infection refers to an infection in the female reproductive organ that’s due to bacteria. It can result in pain during sex or urination, soreness, and vaginal discharge. Yeast infections can happen to any woman, but pregnant or diabetic women have higher risks. Those with a weak immune system are also prone to this infection. Aside from this, antibiotics also improve the chance since they eliminate protective bacteria.
• Bacterial vaginosis or BV – bacterial vaginosis is one of the most common forms of vaginal infection among women between the age of 15 and 44. Abnormal growth of specific kinds of bacteria in the female reproductive organ is the main culprit behind BV. This overgrowth then destroys the healthy balance in the vagina. Aside from burning, it also comes with itching and pain, as well as gray or white vaginal discharge and a potent, fishy odor, most notably right after sexual activity.
• Urinary tract infection – if you feel a burning sensation every time you pee, there is a possibility that you are suffering from urinary tract infection or UTI. This happens when certain parts of the urinary tract, like the kidneys, urethra, and bladder, are infected. Take note that burning is not the sole symptom of UTI; it also comes with smelly, cloudy, or bloody urine, as well as pain in the lower abdomen or unexplained feeling of tiredness.
• Trichomoniasis – popularly recognized as trich, this sexually transmitted disease is due to a parasite that is passed on from one person to another during sex. The thing about this disease is only about 30% of affected people experience symptoms – in which vaginal burning is involved, alongside itching, uncomfortable urination, redness or soreness, itching, and clear, yellow, white, or green vaginal discharge with a fishy smell.
• Irritation – when your vagina comes in contact with fabrics, soaps, feminine hygiene cleansers or sprays, douches, toilet paper, perfumes, medication, and other things, it can get irritated. Aside from irritation, these contact dermatitis can also result in severe itching, stinging, pain, and rawness.
• Chlamydia – is an infection that is acquired by having sexual intercourse with a person that is infected with a bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. Though it is known for being a “silent” infection since it usually displays no symptoms when it does, it comes with increased vaginal discharge and pain, bleeding, or urination during sexual intercourse.
• Gonorrhea – prevalent among people within the age range of 15 and 24, this STD is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted via sexual contact with a person that’s infected. Aside from vaginal burning, gonorrhea also comes with other symptoms such as painful urination, vaginal bleeding between periods, and vaginal discharge.
• Genital herpes – this prevalent STD is usually due to two types of viruses that are transmitted during oral or vaginal sex with a person that’s infected. Apart from vaginal burning, genital herpes can also cause painful blisters or sores, sensation that you have flu, pain in the vaginal area, and swollen glands.
• Menopause – since a decrease in estrogen levels can result in vaginal dryness, this usually causes burning, irritation, and itching.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Vaginal burning usually gets better on its own, even without taking any form of medication. But, if the burning sensation continues, returns after treatment, or becomes severe, set an appointment with your doctor right away. The doctor will diagnose the condition and perform a pelvic exam. Then, he/she might also get a sample of the vaginal discharge to find out the leading cause of the problem, as well as the appropriate treatment to cure it.
Treatment for vaginal burning depends on the specific condition that’s causing it. Here are some possible remedies:
• Yeast infections are typically treated using antifungal medications. These meds can be in the form of ointments, creams, or suppositories, and they are inserted in the vaginal area or taken orally. Patients with yeast infections can purchase these as over-the-counter drugs with various doses that range from one day, three days, or seven days. But, if you’ve never had a yeast infection, it is essential to consult your doctor before consuming any over-the-counter meds.
• Vaginosis and other STDs are cured using antiparasitics or antibiotics.
• Menopause-related vaginal burning can be treated using a vaginal ring insert, tablets, or estrogen cream.
• Different kinds of burning can be alleviated using lotions or creams that decrease the burning sensation.
Among young girls, it is vital to report any burning, itching, or irritation to a doctor or other health care providers since these can also be symptoms of sexual abuse.
Even if vaginal burning heals on its own, even without medication, it is crucial to get regular check-ups to make sure that any problem affecting your reproductive organ is diagnosed as early as possible. Always remember that talking to your doctor about various concerns about your vaginal health is very important, and it shouldn’t make you feel embarrassed.
What are the normal conditions?
Vaginal health is an essential aspect of the overall health of a woman. Vaginal problems, such as vaginal burning can impact one’s desire for sex, fertility, and capacity to have an orgasm. An average vaginal pH level ranges between 3.8 and 4.5, which is considered as moderately acidic. Take note that an acidic vaginal environment offers protection to your reproductive organ. It makes a wall that stops unhealthy bacteria and yeast from spreading and multiplying too soon, which can result in infection. Having a high vaginal pH level, which is way beyond 4.5, establishes the perfect breeding ground for unhealthy bacteria to thrive. Aside from this, having surging vaginal pH increases your risk of having vaginal infections that can cause vaginal burning.
To maintain the standard and healthy condition in the vagina, there are steps that you can take to protect it. First, be sexually responsible. Make it a point to utilize condoms and engage in a monogamous relationship with a partner that doesn’t have any sexually transmitted disease. In case you use sex toys, make sure you clean them after each use. Next, get vaccinated. Having vaccine shots can lower your risk of acquiring HPV – the virus that is responsible for cervical cancer and hepatitis B, which is a severe liver infection that can be transmitted via sexual contact.
Moreover, familiarize yourself with the medications you take. It is best to discuss potential vaginal side effects with your doctor. Lastly, you should limit your alcohol intake and avoid smoking. Chronic alcohol abuse can destroy sexual function, and nicotine can prevent sexual arousal. Besides this, substance abuse can result in weak physical and mental health that can impact sexual function.
Risk of having Vaginal Burning
In some instances, vaginal burning can be caused by an underlying condition, and it can lead to severe or life-threatening risks and complications, including the following:
• Higher risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS
• Premature delivery, congenital disabilities, stillbirth, and miscarriage caused by sexually transmitted diseases or STDs in the course of pregnancy.
• Kidney disease
• Spread of infection in the eye area or other organs
• Spread of specific infections to unborn children via breastfeeding or during childbirth and pregnancy.
• The spread of sexually transmitted diseases to sexual partners
When to seek medical attention
The majority of the causes of vaginal burning usually heal on their own after some time. However, in case the condition doesn’t subside or heal and are getting worse and severe, up to the point where it is affecting your healthy life, then you should immediately see a doctor or healthcare provider.
In many cases, a doctor usually prescribes medication right after the diagnosis has been carried out, and the primary condition that’s causing the burning sensation is determined. Aside from this, if you are someone who has multiple sexual partners or has one that was recently diagnosed with STD, it is best to schedule an appointment to see your doctor.
Table of Medications