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Vaginal pain: Why does my vagina hurt?

Wondering what could be the likely causes of vaginal pain without a steaming sex session? A gynaecologist shares 5 likely culprits.
View All Images A woman suffering from STIs.
Kegal balls must be cleaned and stored well to avoid infections. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Team Health Shots Published: 4 Aug 2023, 16:30 pm IST
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If you have been experiencing unusual and unwelcome twinges in your intimate areas, without an apparent cause, pay closer attention please! Sometimes it may be due to rough sex or intercourse after a long gap, but those are not the only reasons why your vagina may hurt. Vaginal pain can often be dismissed as a passing phase many a times. Ignoring it may end up being a mistake in the long run. Let us find out some common causes of vaginal pain.

According to Dr Gunjan Bhola, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Marengo Asia Hospital, Faridabad, there can be a few reasons behind vaginal pain that go beyond penetrative sex. Let us decode the strange sensations in your vaginal region, and understand a little more about your privates.

Vaginal pain vs vulvar pain

First things first, let us understand the difference between vaginal pain and vulvar pain. Vaginal pain is an inner discomfort you feel deep inside your lady parts. Whereas, vulvar pain is the discomfort you experience in the outer bits, like the labia.

Vulva is different vagina
Vulva is different vagina. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Now that you know the basic difference and how to tell one from another, let us decode some causes of vaginal pain.

Causes of vaginal pain

1. Vaginal dryness

The common condition of vaginal dryness is the OG culprit behind most cases of vaginal pain. If you engage in penetrative sex with a dry vagina, especially without the goodness of a lubricant, you may end up with unwanted vaginal pain. This dryness can sometimes even lead to a minor injury down there, making that pain worse. Vaginal dryness can be due to lower levels of estrogen due to hormonal changes.

2. Menstruation

The not-so-good ol’ period cramps hardly spare anyone with a vagina, don’t they? Abdominal discomfort including bloating and vaginal pain can come hand in hand with menstruation. Some women may experience water retention in the run-up to periods. This heaviness may lead to stabbing vaginal pain.

3. Fibroids

In simple terms, fibroids are non-cancerous tumors found in the uterus or womb. It is a common attention, but not worth ignoring completely. Vaginal pain could be one of the signs of fibroids. The vaginal pain and pelvic discomfort that a woman may experience may depend on the size and placement of fibroids. These may hamper your sexual escapades or even make your periods feel like an action-packed thriller!

Uterine fibroids can cause vaginal pain
Uterine fibroids may cause more vaginal pain and even menstrual bleeding. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

4. Vulvar cysts

Have you felt any bumps around your vulva? These could vulvar cysts. Also known as Bartholin’s cysts, these form when Bartholin’s glands, located on either side of the vaginal opening, become blocked or clogged. Ouch, these can hurt! If the cyst is large, you may need to seek proper medical intervention. Needless to say, vulvar cysts can be a cause of vaginal pain.

5. Sexually transmitted infectons and more

When it comes to causes of vaginal pain, how can sexually transmitted infections (STIs) be left behind? Well, even yeast infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs) can make your vagina hurt due to the bacteria. They may cause a burning sensation while urinating or cause discomforting pain down there.

Don’t ignore vaginal pain

It’s safe to say sex is not the only trigger for vaginal pain. Even routine activities can lead to this unwelcome guest. Ignoring these signs won’t help. So, reach out to your health professional and seek the right diagnosis and treatment.

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