Several health issues can relate to vaginal pain, and that pain can range from very mild to severe. The pain may only occur in the vaginal area or it may also occur in pelvis or cervix. The specific symptoms of vaginal pain and discomfort vary depending on the root cause. Early treatment and intervention may help provide relief from vaginal pain and lower the risks of complications.
Consult with a women’s health specialist if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Pain during intercourse
- Abnormal vaginal discharge (your discharge looks or smells different than usual)
Pain-Causing Health Conditions
Vaginal pain could be the symptom of many different underlying causes, but the most common cause of vaginal pain is infection. Different types of infection it could indicate are:
- Yeast infection
However, vaginal pain could relate to other conditions, such as:
- Trauma caused by intercourse or childbirth
- Complications from surgery or other medical procedures
- Vulvovaginal atrophy (the thinning, drying, and inflammation of vaginal walls) due to a drop of estrogen following menopause
- Vulvar vestibulitis, associated with a highly localized burning or cutting type of pain
- Cervical cancer
Another common condition that causes vaginal pain is dyspareunia, which is a medical term for difficult or painful intercourse. You may be experiencing dyspareunia if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Pain only at penetration
- Pain with every penetration, including putting in a tampon
- Deep pain during intercourse
- Burning or aching pain
- Throbbing pain, lasting hours after intercourse
Causes of dyspareunia can range from minor problems to other serious underlying conditions. These causes include:
- Not using enough lubrication during intercourse
- A drop in estrogen levels after menopause or childbirth
- A side effect of certain medications (antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, sedatives, antihistamines, some birth control pills) that affect sexual desire and arousal
- Injury, trauma, or irritation from an accident, surgery, or childbirth
- Inflammation, infection, or skin disorder
- Vaginismus, or involuntary spasms of the muscles of the vaginal wall
- Congenital abnormality, which is a problem present at birth such as the absence of a fully formed vagina (vaginal agenesis) or the development of a membrane that blocks the vaginal opening (imperforate hymen)
Vaginal pain may also be an indicator of emotional and psychological factors related to anxiety, depression, stress, and trauma as related to a history of abuse.
When to See a Doctor for Vaginal Pain
If you are currently experiencing any of the previously listed symptoms related to vaginal pain and conservative measures like over-the-counter pain relievers fail to relieve the pain, we recommend seeing a healthcare provider.
Keep a note of any symptoms you experience in relation to your vaginal pain — pain plus other symptoms such as skin irritations, abnormal discharge, nausea, or bleeding. This can help your doctor diagnose you more quickly and prescribe a treatment plan to have you feeling better as quickly as possible.
Your healthcare provider may order diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of your vaginal pain.
If you are currently experiencing fever, bloody stools, chest pain, yellow skin (jaundice), or abdominal swelling and tenderness, seek immediate medical attention as you could be experiencing a serious medical condition that requires urgent medical help.
How Advanced Gynecology Can Help: Treatment Options for Vaginal Pain
If you’ve been suffering persistent and recurring vaginal pain, Advanced Gynecology is here for you.
Our board-certified team of women’s health experts are ready to help you with diagnostic care and a range of options from pain management solutions to surgical procedures to hormone therapy to a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure. We will counsel you about the best options for you and your health.
In the meantime, it can be helpful to take anti-inflammatory NSAID medications like over-the-counter Advil or Aleve if you are experiencing any pelvic or abdominal pain alongside your vaginal pain. It may be recommended to proceed cautiously with sexual intercourse if your pain is recurring and persistent.
For more information, schedule an appointment today or call 706-389-9228 to speak with one of our patient coordinators.