Read below about vaginal pain, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your vaginal pain from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Vaginal Pain Symptoms

Vaginal pain can be due to a variety of causes. Something as simple as irritation from shaving or soreness after sexual intercourse can cause vaginal pain symptoms. Various infections, including urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause vaginal pain as well. Some causes of vaginal pain symptoms can be treated or prevented at home by following some basic hygiene instructions. Yeast infections can be treated with over the counter medications. Other causes of vaginal pain, including all sexually transmitted infections, will need to be evaluated and treated by a doctor. Sexually transmitted infections can be prevented by using condoms.

Symptoms that can be associated with vaginal pain symptoms include:

Vaginal Pain Causes Overview

There are multiple causes of vaginal pain, including infection, irritation, or trauma. Viral and bacterial infections, either sexually transmitted or not, can cause lesions, pain, discharge, or itching. Yeast infections and urinary tract infections may also cause vaginal pain. Irritation from shaving, hygiene products or vaginal dryness can lead to pain as well. Less commonly, vaginal pain symptoms are due to trauma or a vaginal pain syndrome.

Infectious causes:

  • Viral Infections: Various viruses can cause vaginal infection and pain. Many of these viruses are sexually transmitted. Some viruses can cause lesions or blisters on the outside of the vagina which can be very painful.
  • Bacterial Infections: Some bacterial infections can cause vaginal pain symptoms. Some bacterial infections, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, are sexually transmitted. Others, like bacterial vaginosis are not sexually transmitted.
  • Yeast Infections: Yeast infections are a common cause of vaginal discomfort or pain. They often present with itching and vaginal discharge.
  • Urinary Tract Infections: Bacteria can spread to the urinary tract and cause infection in the urethra. This can cause pain in the urethra and surrounding area, particularly pain or burning with urination.

Irritation-related causes:

  • Post-Menopausal: After menopause, the natural lubrication in the vagina decreases. This can cause vaginal dryness, irritation, or pain.
  • Topical Irritation: Many things can irritate the external part of the vagina and cause pain, including shaving, soaps or lotions, and feminine hygiene products.

Other causes:

  • Pain Syndromes: Vaginal pain syndromes are a less common cause of vaginal pain. Typically, they present with pain during sexual intercourse or vaginal penetration.
  • Trauma: Any trauma to the vagina or the surrounding area can lead to pain. Sometimes, women experience pain or soreness after sex.
  • Post-Partum: It is common for women to experience vaginal pain or soreness after delivering a baby.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Vaginal Pain

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced vaginal pain. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Yeast Infection

    Yeast infections are caused by a fungus called "Candida." Candida is the scientific name for yeast that lives almost everywhere, including in the human body. Typically, our immune system keeps it under control, but if you take antibiotics or gets sick, the fungus can multiply and cause an infection. In this case, it is happening in the vagina.

    50% of women have relapses within 2 months, and 9% have more than 4 episodes per year. For those, maintenance therapy is possible.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal itch or burning, white/gray vaginal discharge, thick vaginal discharge, vaginal pain, vulvovaginal redness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Bartholin Duct Abscess

    The Bartholin gland sits in the outer part of the vagina and produces fluid that lubricates it. A Bartholin duct abscess is caused by a blockage in the gland and a bacterial infection within the fluid that builds up.

    Rarely goes away without surgery. 2-25% recurrence for surgery and drainage

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal pain, painful sex, bump on the outer part of the vagina, painful vagina lump, small vagina lump
    Symptoms that always occur with bartholin duct abscess:
    bump on the outer part of the vagina, vaginal pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Vaginal Pain Checker

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  3. 3.Lichen Sclerosus

    Lichen sclerosus is a chronic inflammatory disease of unknown cause. It's most commonly on the genital region and occurring in women who are post menopausal.

    Can be lifelong; however, symptoms will come-and-go with treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal itch or burning, vaginal pain, painful sex, dry skin on the outside of the vagina, painful urination
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Bartholin Cyst

    The Bartholin gland sits in the outer part of the vagina and produces fluid that lubricates it. A Bartholin cyst is caused by a blockage in the gland and the build up of fluid behind the blockage.

    Will not go away without drainage or surgical removal

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    small vagina lump, bump on the outer part of the vagina, marble sized vagina lump
    Symptoms that always occur with bartholin cyst:
    bump on the outer part of the vagina
    Symptoms that never occur with bartholin cyst:
    painful vagina lump, vaginal pain, painful sex
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  5. 5.Vulvar Cancer

    Vulvar cancer is a cancer of the outer portion of the female genitalia.

    Recovery depends on extent of disease.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal discharge, vaginal itch or burning, vaginal pain, painful urination, vagina lump
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Vaginal Pain Treatments and Relief

Seek emergency treatment if:

Home vaginal pain treatments include:

  • Hygiene: Use gentle, fragrance free soaps on the outside of the vagina and avoid using products inside the vagina. Avoid douching. Avoid shaving if it irritates the surrounding skin.
  • Over the counter medications: Yeast infections can be treated with over the counter medication. However, if you are unsure of the cause of your symptoms, see a doctor who can diagnose the problem.
  • STI Prevention: Use condoms to prevent transmission of sexually transmitted infections.

Medical professional vaginal pain treatments include:

  • Antibiotics: If your symptoms are due to a bacterial infection, like bacterial vaginosis, a urinary tract infection, or gonorrhea or chlamydia, a doctor will prescribe an antibiotic.
  • Other Medication: There are various topical and oral medications that can help with vaginal dryness. If you have a viral infection, a doctor might prescribe antivirals.
  • Referral to a Specialist: If a doctor suspects you have a pain syndrome, they may refer you to a specialist who diagnoses and treats this condition.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Vaginal Pain

  • Q.Have you ever had a yeast infection?
  • Q.Do you feel pain when you urinate?
  • Q.Have you ever been diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Q.Have you ever been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our vaginal pain symptom checker to find out more.

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Vaginal Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced vaginal pain have also experienced:

    • 21% Vaginal Itch or Burning
    • 11% Vaginal Discharge
    • 6% Yellow Pus Vaginal Discharge
  • People who have experienced vaginal pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 44% Less Than a Week
    • 23% Less Than a Day
    • 14% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced vaginal pain were most often matched with:

    • 50% Bartholin Duct Abscess
    • 37% Lichen Sclerosus
    • 12% Yeast Infection
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

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