Vaginal Pain

An Overview

Vaginal pain can also stem from a condition called dyspepsia. This is a medical term for painful intercourse. It can be caused by insufficient lubrication during sex from hormonal changes or lack of sexual arousal. Vaginal pain can also stem from psychological conditions, such as a history of sexual abuse. Yeast infection (Candida) is a particularly common form of vaginitis. Women are at increased risk for yeast vaginitis if they take antibiotics or cortisone medications, during pregnancy and if their immune systems are suppressed by medications or disease.

Causes for Vaginal Pain

A wide range of conditions can cause vaginal pain, but the following are the most common:

Vaginal pain can also be a result of injury or trauma to the vagina or vulva. Vaginal pain during sexual intercourse is referred to as dyspareunia. The medical term for vaginal pain is vulvodynia.

1. Infection:

Yeast infections are among the most common causes of vaginal pain. About 75% of women develop a vaginal yeast infection at some point. A yeast infection can cause itching, burning, and sometimes cottage cheese-like discharge from the vagina. Many people mistake the symptoms of BV for those of a yeast infection. However, the two have different causes and require different treatments.

2. Physical trauma:

Physical injury to the vagina or vulva can cause vaginal pain. Injuries such as cuts from shaving may be responsible, but one of the most common causes of injury and pain is childbirth. Giving birth causes vaginal tearing in most women the first time that they go into labor.

3. Trauma:

Any trauma to the vagina or the surrounding area can lead to pain. Sometimes, women experience pain or soreness after sex.

4. Pelvic floor dysfunction or injury:

Damage to the muscles of the pelvic floor can cause pain in the vagina, stomach, back, and muscles in other areas. Some factors that can increase the risk of pelvic floor problems include:
• age
• pregnancy
• injury from childbirth

5. Vulvodynia:

Vulvodynia is a type of chronic pain in the vulva, vagina, or both. The pain varies from person to person, but many report a burning pain that is fairly continuous, though it can be triggered or worsened by intercourse.

6. Bacterial infections:

Some bacterial infections can cause vaginal pain symptoms. Some bacterial infections, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, are sexually transmitted. Others, like bacterial vaginosis are not sexually transmitted.

7. Post-menopausal:

After menopause the natural lubrication in the vagina decreases. This can cause vaginal dryness, resulting in irritation or pain.

8. Topical irritation:

Many things can irritate the external part of the vagina and cause pain, including shaving, soaps or lotions, and feminine hygiene products.

Symptoms of vaginal pain

The main symptom is persistent pain in and around the vulva and vagina. The vulva usually looks normal.
The pain may be:

  • Vaginal yeast infections, BV, and other types of infection often cause a burning sensation, especially during or after intercourse.
  • Vaginal bleeding
  •  Triggered by touch, such as during sex or when inserting a tampon
  • Constantly in the background
  • Itching
  •  Burning
  •  Rawness
  • Worse when sitting down
  •  limited to part of the vulva, such as the opening of the vagina
  •  Vaginal dryness
  • More widespread – sometimes it can spread over the whole genital area and the anus

Diagnosis

A doctor can usually diagnose a vaginal yeast infection based on a person’s symptoms alone, though they may need to test a sample of discharge. This will help the doctor rule out bacterial infections and STIs, such as gonorrhea and Chlamydia.

1.Pelvic exam:

This can reveal signs of infection, abnormal growths or tense pelvic floor muscles. Your doctor checks for areas of tenderness. Let your doctor know if you feel any discomfort during this exam, especially if the pain is similar to the pain you’ve been experiencing.

2. Lab tests:

During the pelvic exam, your doctor may order labs to check for infections, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. Your doctor may also order bloodwork to check your blood cell counts and urinalysis to check for a urinary tract infection.

3. Ultrasound:

This test uses high-frequency sound waves to produce precise images of structures within your body. This procedure is especially useful for detecting masses or cysts in the ovaries, uterus or Fallopian tubes.

4. Other imaging tests:

Your doctor may recommend abdominal X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to help detect abnormal structures or growths.

5. Laparoscopy:

During this surgical procedure, your doctor makes a small incision in your abdomen and inserts a thin tube attached to a small camera (laparoscope). The laparoscope allows your doctor to view your pelvic organs and check for abnormal tissues or signs of infection. This procedure is especially useful in detecting endometriosis and chronic pelvic inflammatory disease.

The doctor may also:

  1. Perform a physical examination of the area to check for recent injuries.
    Perform an internal vaginal exam to check for muscle abnormalities, swelling and irritation.
  2. take a comprehensive medical history, including questions about risk factors for specific vaginal health issues.

Treatment

However, if a cause can’t be identified, treatment will focus on managing your pain and other symptoms. For many women, the optimal approach involves a combination of treatments.

1. Pain relievers:

Over-the-counter pain remedies, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), may provide partial relief from your pelvic pain. Sometimes a prescription pain reliever may be necessary. Pain medication alone, however, rarely solves the problem of chronic pain.

2. Antibiotics:

If your symptoms are due to a bacterial infection, like bacterial vaginosis, a urinary tract infection, or gonorrhea or chlamydia, a doctor will prescribe an antibiotic.

3. Other medication:

There are various topical and oral medications that can help with vaginal dryness. If you have a viral infection, a doctor might prescribe antivirals.

4. Hormone treatments:

Some women find that the days when they have pelvic pain may coincide with a particular phase of their menstrual cycle and the hormonal changes that control ovulation and menstruation. When this is the case, birth control pills or other hormonal medications may help relieve pelvic pain.

5. Antibiotics:

If an infection is the source of your pain, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

6. Antidepressants:

Some types of antidepressants can be helpful for chronic pain. Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline (Pamelor) and others, seem to have pain-relieving as well as antidepressant effects. They may help improve chronic pelvic pain even in women who don’t have depression.

Prevention

  • Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting skirts or trousers.
  • Avoid scented hygiene products, such as feminine wipes, bubble bath and soap (an emollient is a good substitute for soap).
  • Apply cool gel packs to your vulva to soothe the pain.
  • Use petroleum jelly before swimming to protect the vulva from chlorine.
  • Try not to avoid sex or touching your vulva completely, as this may make your vulva more sensitive. If sex is painful, try to find a position that’s more comfortable, or do other sexually intimate activities together until you have sought advice if penetration is painful.

Hope this Symptoms and cure article will be helpful to all. Do not forget to share your valuable suggestions if any.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *