What is vaginal burning?
Vaginal burning refers to an unusual burning or stinging sensation that is mostly experienced when urine touches genital areas which include the labia and vulva when inflamed. Vaginal burning might also be caused by a sexually transmitted infection and is in the list of the early symptoms of STDs.
Non-sexual causes of vaginal burning:
- Yeast infection or UTI
- Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
- Chemical irritation from douches or creams
- Irritation caused by contraceptives such as condoms
- Feminine products and soap allergies
- Friction from cloths or toilet paper
The vaginal burning sensation can occur constantly when you urinate or when there are irritants coming into contact with the vagina. The sensation can start gradually or suddenly. Sometimes the burning will go away but if it is caused by a sexually transmitted disease, you will require medical treatment.
If the painful or burning sensation is internal, it means that you might have a urinary tract or bladder infection. It might also be an allergic reaction. There are non-sexual external burning sensations that might be cause d by trauma to the vagina. There are also rare cases of semen allergies that can cause internal burning sensations.
STDs that cause vaginal burning
Genital herpes, caused by HSV-2 is one of the STDs known to cause vaginal burning. Herpes outbreaks result in clusters of painful bumps that burst and ooze fluids. Though most outbreaks are on the outside, there are cases where the bumps are on the inside of the vagina. External lesions cause pain during urination or when they come in contact with clothing. Internal lesions become painful with tampon insertion or intercourse.
Trichomoniasis is and STD that results from a protozoan parasite. The infection is known to cause inflammation and irritation on the skin of the vagina. These sensations can result in vaginal burning. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two bacterial infections that occur together in most cases. They can also cause vaginal burning. Fortunately, these infections can be treated using antibiotics.
The only sure way to know what is causing the irritation and burning sensation is getting tested. If you are sexually active, you should get tested for different STDs because there are many infections that can cause vaginal burning. It is important to get tested especially if you are sexually active. This is because there are infections that will not have any noticeable symptoms.
- “Urinary tract infections.” Office on Women’s Health. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/urinary-tract-infections
- “What is a yeast infection?” Planned Parenthood. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/health-and-wellness/vaginitis/what-yeast-infection
- “Trichomoniasis – CDC Fact Sheet.” Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2015. Centers for Disease COntrol and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stdfact-trichomoniasis.htm
- “Bacterial Vaginosis.” Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2015. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-bacterial-vaginosis.htm
- “Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia.htm
- “Disorders of the Vulva: Common Causes of Vulvar Pain, Burning, and Itching.” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Disorders-of-the-Vulva-Common-Causes-of-Vulvar-Pain-Burning-and-Itching
- “Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm
- “Gonorrhea – CDC Fact Sheet.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Gonorrhea – CDC Fact Sheet.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/stdfact-gonorrhea.htm