Why Does My Vagina Burn?

A burning feeling in the vulva can be uncomfortable and unsettling. But it’s also common, and most of the time it’s easy to treat.

If you’re experiencing pain or itching in your vulva, see a nurse or doctor right away. It could be a sign of something easily treatable like a yeast infection or an allergy to condoms or lube.


Any itching or irritation in the genital area isn’t normal and should be checked out by a doctor. Symptoms like burning, itching and discharge can be a sign of an infection in the vulva and labia.

Most of the time it isn’t serious, but persistent itching or irritated skin can lead to an infection or other health issues that need to be addressed. Yeast infections, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases and allergic reactions to condoms and lubricants can all lead to vaginal burning and itching.

A yeast infection in the vulva is often described as a feeling of tightness, warmth and itching. Yeast infections usually develop when the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted. Itching and burning in the vulva can also be caused by an imbalance of hormones, which happens during pregnancy or menopause.

If the burning or itch is accompanied by other symptoms, like painful sex, lower stomach pain, bleeding between periods and a fishy-smelling discharge, it’s important to visit your doctor. These symptoms are a symptom of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause an infection in the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.

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A burning sensation in the vulva and outer genitals can also be a symptom of STIs like trichomoniasis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. Symptoms of STIs like itching, tingling and burning can be relieved with antibiotics.

External Irritation

You can experience burning and itching in the vulva due to a variety of external factors. These include irritants such as panty liners and sanitary pads, soaps or detergents (especially those that are heavily scented), tight clothes, horseback riding, swimming in chlorine or hot tubs, as well as certain perfumes and medications like antihistamines.

These can all cause the vulva to feel dry and irritated, which will then lead to itching and burning. It’s important to talk to your doctor about these symptoms so they can assess the underlying issue and prescribe the correct treatment.

A common infection that leads to a burning feeling in the vagina is a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. These throw off the pH of the vulva, and can also cause pain during sex. Other infections that can cause a burning sensation include urinary tract infections, herpes, and sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea.

A doctor will test you to identify the infection causing the feeling of burning in your vulva, and prescribe medication accordingly. Antibiotics will treat bacterial infections, and antifungals will treat yeast infections. Medications such as hormone replacement therapy can help balance changes from menopause and reduce vaginal dryness, and over-the-counter antihistamines can reduce itching and burning caused by allergies. In most cases, the burning will clear once the underlying infection is treated.

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A burning sensation in the vulva and outer genitals can be caused by an imbalance of hormones. Yeast infections, some types of STDs, vaginitis (an inflammation or infection of the vulva), and menopause can all cause itching and burning in these areas.

A lack of lubrication in the vagina and tightening of pelvic muscles can also cause pain during or after sexual activity. This is known as dyspareunia and can be a result of stress, anxiety or other factors. It can be treated with a lubricant or by seeing a doctor for medication to help with the issue.

During the menopausal transition, women often experience burning feelings during and after sex, as well as itching. This is due to a decrease in estrogen and a thinning of the vulva lining. This can be prevented by using a vaginal lubricant and having regular sex.

Itching can be a sign of an infection or irritation, so it’s important to visit your OB-GYN for a proper diagnosis. This will ensure that you are treating the correct condition. Additionally, avoiding perfumed or scented products in the area like douches, pads, tampons and sprays can help prevent these types of symptoms as they can irritate the sensitive tissue. Your OB-GYN can prescribe medication to help reduce the burning, itching and irritation. This may include oral contraceptive pills or topical estrogen cream.


If a woman experiences persistent pain and burning around the vulva, it’s important for her to see her doctor. This condition is called vulvodynia, and it can be frustrating for women who can’t pinpoint the source of the pain. Vulvodynia can cause symptoms that range from stinging and itching to shooting, stabbing pain. These symptoms can last for weeks or months and can be very distressing, especially during intimate situations.

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When a patient visits her doctor, she should first rule out other, more easily treatable causes of pain. A gynecologist can help her find the root cause of her pain and recommend treatments or lifestyle changes that will ease the pain. This may include anesthetic gel, which can be applied to the vulva before sexual intercourse and is also useful for daily use. Some creams combine anesthetics with nerve-stabilizing medications to reduce inflammation and provide long-term relief. Oral medication, like antidepressants or neuropathic pain medications such as gabapentin, can be effective for some patients. Nerve block injections can be used to relieve severe pain that doesn’t respond to other treatment options.

The best thing a patient can do is be open and honest with her doctor. If the pain is affecting her emotional state, psychosexual counselling can be helpful, and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help change negative thoughts that might contribute to the pain.

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