Top 8 Reasons You May Be Experience Vaginal Burning
You take good care of the rest of your body, but I’m not sure if I can say the same for your vagina. If you are experiencing any kind of unexplained itching or burning in your vagina, then it may be time to pay attention.
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Itching and burning in the vulva and vagina aren’t rare experiences for a woman. Not only are these classic symptoms of a yeast infection (click here to know if you’re at risk), but also many other lesser-known but equally likely conditions. The female genitalia are one of the most sensitive parts of the female anatomy – more susceptible to infections and diseases than the male genitalia. For that very reason, the ratio of urinary tract infection (UTI) cases in women to men is an appalling 8:1! This ratio goes up to 32:1 in middle-aged groups (to know more, click here).
So, the moral of the story is: You are not invincible and every vaginal burning is not a yeast infection or UTI. As commonplace as it can be, the common causes of vaginal itching and burning are equally familiar (yet unexpected).
On that note, here are the top 8 reasons why you may be experiencing vaginal burning after sex:
1. Bacterial vaginosis:
As dangerous as it sounds, bacterial vaginosis is usually just a harmless imbalance in the bacterial flora in the vagina. The other symptoms that may accompany vaginal burning or itching are -thin white or grey discharge and fishy odour, especially after sex. In most cases, the symptoms clear up on their own without treatment, but in some cases, medical intervention may be required. The most common approach, in such situations, by gynaecologists is to prescribe a course of antibiotics and perhaps intra-vaginal capsules or gels to relieve the symptoms.
Trichomoniasis (also called trich) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections across the world with roughly 170-180 million cases recorded annually. The classic symptom of the disease is a green or white frothy discharge alongside burning or itching in the vagina. Other symptoms include putrid odour, discomfort during urination or sex, lower abdominal pain. Trich is relatively easy to treat. When left untreated, it may lead to long-term complications and increase the risk for other STIs. Therefore, when in doubt, always consult with your doctor.
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Who hasn’t heard of gonorrhoea? Like most STIs, gonorrhoea also does not produce any substantial symptoms until a later stage. But it is wise to watch out for these symptoms (alongside vaginal burning or itching) if you have engaged in unsafe sex in the past - painful burning and irritation while urinating, unusual discharge, bleeding or spotting between periods. Complications of the disease include pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility, so it is advisable to get tested in case of the slightest doubt, as it is treated quite easily with single dose prescription antibiotics.
Chlamydia is a dangerously infectious sexually transmitted infection that is quite the sore sight to the eye. It is spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex and potentially infects the penis, vagina, cervix, anus, urethra, eyes, and throat. Chlamydia is quite the sneaky disease with very little noticeable symptoms. But, if you are experiencing these alongside vaginal burning after sex, then it could be chlamydia - pain or burning while peeing, pain during sex, lower belly pain, abnormal vaginal discharge, bleeding between periods, pus or a milky discharge from the penis, swollen or tender testicles, discharge or bleeding around the anus.
5. Genital herpes:
Caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV), herpes comes with blisters around vagina, rectum or mouth, ulcers, pain when urinating, cold sores, and abnormal vaginal discharge. According to WebMD, almost 50% of the American population has oral herpes with inconspicuously mild symptoms. So, chances are that you know someone with herpes. What makes the STI so common is how easily it can be transmitted via skin-to-skin contact with infected areas. So, if you even vaguely suspect a blister in your nether regions (alongside vaginal burning and itching), get it looked at by a physician.
6. Lichen sclerosus:
This probably will sound like fiction because lichen sclerosis is a rare skin condition characterised by white patches in the vulva and vagina. The condition is seen mostly in post-menopausal women and can lead to permanent scarring. Unfortunately, the root cause is unknown, but experts believe genetics, overactive immune system, and hormonal imbalance to be contributing factors.
This is a time of tremendous hormonal changes in the body that often result in vaginal dryness and itching. 9 times out of 10, these symptoms can be treated with oestrogen creams, tablets or intra-vaginal rings. Please refrain from self-medicating, and consult your gynaecologist in cases of any discomfort or vaginal burning or itching.
8. Other external factors:
If you recently started using a new ‘intimate hygiene’ product, then you know what to blame. Harsh soaps, bubble baths, intimate sprays, fabrics softeners, scented toilet paper, and douches that come directly in contact with your sensitive areas can cause irritation, itching, and burning. Diabetics with urinary incontinence experience vaginal burning and itching because of their urine acting as an irritant.
How stressed are you? Did you know that stress can also lead to vaginal burning and itching? Although rare, stress is known to weaken the immune system, leaving you more susceptible to contracting any of the above infections that could subsequently lead to burning and itching.
So, if you haven’t been taking care of your mental and emotional health, then it is time for you to step up. Also, don’t forget to wash your intimate areas every day with warm water and a gentle cleanser (preferably prescribed by the doctor). Always buy cotton underwear, wear and change it regularly. Eat lots of fermented foods (it’s great for the vagina) and use condoms during any form of sexual contact. Lastly, share this with all your vagina-possessing friends, so they can take better care of their ‘hoohaas’ as well. After all, friends watch each other’s backs.