Why is My Vagina Pulsing?

Having an orgasm is the pinnacle of sexual pleasure, and it can bring feelings of bliss. Sometimes, however, people experience a buzzing or tingling sensation in the vulva that may come and go. This sensation is called vulvodynia, and there are several benign causes for it.

A pulsing feeling is often nothing to worry about, but it’s always worth discussing with your gynecologist.

Causes

There are a few reasons why your vagina might feel pulsing or vibrating. Most often, these sensations are a muscle spasm in or around the pelvic muscles and they usually aren’t a cause for concern. But sometimes the feeling of a pulsing vulva is caused by an underlying health condition, such as pelvic floor disorder or nerve dysfunction that feels like a tingling vulva or itchiness. Other conditions that can cause this sensation include a yeast infection or BV, genital herpes, persistent genital arousal disorder or restless genital syndrome.

A pulsing vulva is also a common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). MS can lead to a variety of symptoms, including “paresthesia,” which includes numbness, tingling or vibrations in different parts of the body — such as the genital area. This can occur alone or with other symptoms, such as bladder or bowel control problems or pain in the legs.

Some women may feel a pulsing of the muscles in their vulva during orgasm, which is normal and usually indicates that they are aroused. This happens because of a dramatic increase in blood flow to the clitoris and labia, which causes these areas to expand. This pulsing is similar to the feeling of an orgasm in other body parts, such as the arm, leg or butt muscles. This pulsing isn’t related to pregnancy and can stop after the baby is born.

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Treatment

The good news is that most women who experience these sensations will not have a medically significant cause. But they should talk to their doctor about it anyway if the sensations become more frequent or intense.

Usually, the vibrations are localized to just one area of the vulva—like the vulvar vestibule or the clitoris, which is a small organ at the top of the vagina. It’s called localized vulvar pain syndrome or vulvodynia. Sometimes, it’s provoked by sexual activity, tampon insertion or pelvic examinations; at other times, it’s unprovoked. It can also be triggered by tight-fitting clothes or sitting. There are many treatment options for vulvodynia, including over-the-counter pain relievers, hot or cold packs and relaxation exercises. Some women may benefit from a course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is a type of psychotherapy that helps people manage problems by changing the way they think and act. Psychosexual counselling is also helpful for addressing fear and anxiety about sex and improving intimate relationships.

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Another option is a nerve block, which involves injecting a local anesthetic into trigger points or especially sensitive areas. Those injections are usually aimed at the pudendal nerve, which carries sensations from the vulva to the spinal cord. In some cases, these treatments can provide permanent relief from vulvodynia.

Prevention

Some women feel pulsing in their vulva during orgasm, which is perfectly normal. This pulsing is due to the muscles of the pelvic floor contracting, causing a vibration-like sensation. Some women also experience these sensations when inserting a tampon or during intercourse. These symptoms are part of a condition called vaginismus, which is the involuntary spasming of muscles around the vaginal opening. This can happen when trying to insert a tampon, during sexual activity or even during a pelvic examination or Pap test.

Prevention measures for vaginal pulsing can include applying cool compresses or gel packs to the vulva. It is also recommended to use a non-scented, unflavored lubricant during sexual activities and avoid wearing tight pantyhose or pants for extended periods of time.

Diagnosis

Sometimes doctors have a hard time diagnosing vaginal pain. They may think you’re making it up or it could be something else, like a urinary tract infection or a psychological condition.

You can help your doctor diagnose vulvodynia by telling them where the pain is, when it happens and how much it hurts. They will also ask about your medical, sexual and surgery history and do a pelvic exam. They might use a cotton swab to press on different parts of your vulva to see how sensitive they are. They might also take a sample of your vaginal discharge or urine for tests to find out what’s wrong with you.

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Your pain might be localized to a specific area of your vulva, such as the vulvar vestibule or clitoris. If this is the case, your doctor might call it localized vulvodynia. Or the pain might be everywhere in your vulva, or generalized vulvodynia. The pain might be provoked or unprovoked, or it might happen when you touch your vulva or have sexual intercourse.

A Bartholin’s cyst can cause pulsing and throbbing pain in the vulva. These cysts are a type of inflammation that causes the clitoris to become stuck in the opening of the vagina, which leads to pain and swelling. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including irritation, hormones, an infection and even sex.

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