Vaginal Pain: Causes And Treatment

Vaginal Pain: Causes And Treatment

Vaginal pain has several causes. It may be a symptom of an infection or injury or as a result of no clear or known cause. A condition called vulvodynia.

Vulvodynia is a common gynaecological condition that affects a large number of women. Most women feel embarrassed by this condition and, it prevents them from getting professional help. Often, doctors quickly dismiss vaginal pain as nothing but a good healthcare provider would properly diagnose and treat any underlying condition causing vulvodynia.

Causes of vaginal pain

The following may cause you to experience vaginal pain

  • Infection

Yeast infections rank high in the conditions that cause vaginal pain. Most women develop a yeast infection at one point in their lives. Yeast infection cannot be gotten through sexual intercourse. It causes the discharge of cottage-cheese like substances from the vagina, itching, and burning, which leads to vaginal pain.

Bacterial vaginosis is another common infection that can lead to vagina pain. It is predominant in those who are sexually active. Bacterial vaginosis does not cause any symptoms in the body but, in the vagina, it causes pain, itching, burning, discomfort during sex, and fishy odour.

The symptoms of bacterial vaginosis are usually mistaken for yeast infection. These two infections are not the same, and they require different forms of treatment.

Other sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhoea can cause vaginal pain and unusual discharge.

  • Physical trauma

Having an injury in your vagina or vulva can cause vaginal pain. Cuts from shaving or injury during childbirth may also lead to vagina pain.

During childbirth, the vagina gets torn especially in women delivering for the first time. The tear may extend into the perineum (the area between the vagina and anus). The clitoris or labia may also tear during childbirth which causes vagina pain.

Your doctor would stitch up the tear if it is a serious one. The stitches tend to dissolve over time and do not require removal.

  • Pelvic floor dysfunction or injury

When the pelvic floor muscles get damaged, it causes pain in the stomach, back, and vagina.

The risk of having pelvic floor injury is affected by age, pregnancy, childbirth, and episiotomy (surgical incision which is done to enlarge the vaginal opening into the perineum during labour).

Some people who have pelvic floor dysfunction also experience incontinence when they sneeze or jump. Some people experience faecal incontinence and pain when passing stool.

  • Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia is chronic pain of the vulva, vagina or both. The degree of the pain varies, but, it is usually continuous and intensified by intercourse.

The cause and symptoms of vulvodynia are not fully understood yet. Diagnosing vulvodynia involves a lot of procedure because other causes of vagina pain have to be checked and eliminated first.

If you think you have vulvodynia, you can visit a private gynaecologist in London for treatment and advice.

  • Bartholin's cyst

The Bartholin's gland is located at the sides of the vagina's entrance. It helps lubricate the vagina. When any of these glands are blocked, it could cause the formation of a cyst. The cyst feels like a hard lump or pimple, and it causes pain in the vagina.

Bartholin'scyst may become larger in several days then disappear or get ruptured. Sometimes, it may get infected and cause intense pain.

Symptoms of vaginal pain

Vaginal pain can be in different forms. To help your doctor easily identify the condition, you need to describe the pain properly. Some common types of vaginal pain include

  • Burning

Yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and other types of bacterial infection can cause you to feel a burning sensation in your vagina, especially after having sex.

  • Itching

Itching in your vagina is a common sign of a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis and other STIs. Pelvic floor injury causes nerve dysfunction, which can lead to itching and other unusual sensation in the vagina.

Some people may experience itching in their vagina during sex due to vulvodynia, rupture of a Bartholin's cyst or healing of a physical injury in the vagina.

  • Tension or muscle spasms

When the vagina is tight or sore, it may be an indication of pelvic floor dysfunction. Some people also experience muscle spasms in the vagina, lower back pain and hip discomfort.

Tensing of the vagina muscles during sex can also be caused by vulvodynia. Sometimes, the muscle becomes forcefully tensed, making intercourse difficult.

  • Tenderness or sensitivity

Bartholin's cyst may cause the skin around the vagina to become tender and sensitive. The affected area may also become red with visible swelling and lumps. If the cyst leads to an infection, the pain may become intense.

When the vagina is traumatised, it could lead to tenderness and sensitivity. After childbirth, most women also complain about vagina sensitivity due to perineal tear.

  • Pain during intercourse

Having sex can intensify any kind of vaginal pain because friction causes irritation, but if you experience vagina pain only during sex, you may have vulvodynia.

If you experience pain during intercourse and a fishy odour, it could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis. 

Diagnosis Of Vaginal Pain

If you have yeast infection, your doctor can easily diagnose it from the kind of symptoms you experience. However, you may need to get tested to rule out bacterial vaginosis and other STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

You may also need a physical exam of the area to check for recent injuries, internal vaginal exam to check for muscle abnormalities and comprehensive medical history.

People who have vulvodynia do not usually show any symptoms so, the doctor would have to rule out all other causes of vaginal pain to make a proper diagnosis.

Treatment of vaginal pain

The treatment for vaginal pain would depend on its cause. For STIs such as chlamydia, bacterial vaginosis, and gonorrhoea, antibiotics would be used for treatment. Physical injuries such as infected or deep wounds can also be treated using antibiotics.

Yeast infections would be treated using over-the-counter or prescribed oral antifungal medications.

Bartholin's cyst does not need treatment because they clear off on their own, but you can use warm compresses to speed up the clearing process. If the cyst doesn't clear off on its own and become bigger, your doctor would have to drain it surgically. If the cyst gets infected, antibiotics would be used for treatment.

For pelvic floor dysfunction or injury, physical therapy plan developed by a therapist can help strengthen the pelvic floor. Physical therapy can also be used in the treatment of vulvodynia.Treating vulvodynia is usually difficult and varies, but a combination of the following can help relieve the condition.

  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Sex therapy
  • Oral or topical pain medications
  • Drugs for nerve blocks
  • Nerve stimulation
  • Lifestyle changes that involve avoiding triggers

Home Remedies For Vagina Pain

Home remedies cannot be uses to treat vaginal pain caused by bacterial infections. These home remedies would only make the symptoms worse so, if you have a bacterial infection, ensure you visit a doctor at Gynaecology clinic in Harley Street.

However, the following home remedies may be used to manage vaginal pain caused by other conditions.

  • Applying warm compresses to Bartholin's cysts
  • Using ice packs, numbing spray or both to ease the pain caused by a vaginal tear

Prevention of vaginal pain

The following strategies can help prevent vaginal pain

  • Testing regularly for STIs and knowing the STI status of all your partners
  • Using condoms during sex
  • Making enquires and following methods that can prevent perineal tear during childbirth
  • Not wearing wet clothes and underwear because they increase the growth of yeast


Vagina pain may be temporary or chronic. The pain occurs as a simple irritation or severe pain but, with early diagnosis and the right treatment, it can be taken care of. Ensure you see our doctor if you think you have vagina pain.

Vulvodynia may be hard to diagnose because your doctor has to rule out all other causes of vaginal pain. Although this cause of vagina pain is not well understood, some treatments can be used to manage it.

For more information on vagina pain, contact experienced private gynaecologists & obstetricians in London. You can also call us on 020 71831049 to book an appointment for vagina pain diagnosis and treatment.

Gynae Clinic is a website designed to inform our patients about gynaecological services delivered at Medical Express Clinic at 117a Harley Street. In the event that patients are seen by a clinician, this will be arranged at Medical Express Clinic which is registered in the United Kingdom with the Care Quality Commission to provide healthcare services.