Vaginal Burning

Reviewed by Frank Cockerill, MD, July 21, 2017

Some women may think they are experiencing vaginal burning when they are actually experiencing pain or burning in their bladder or urethra. Since the two are located in close proximity to one another, this is a common misconception. If you're experiencing internal pain or burning with urination, it's typically your bladder or urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder) that is affected. If you're experiencing burning externally when you urinate, it could be due to vaginal inflammation or vaginal lesions that sting when urine passes over them. Urinary tract infections (an infection and inflammation of the bladder and/or urethra) are common culprits of a "burning sensation" internally.

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Herpes and vaginal burning

A burning sensation in or on the vagina can be caused by herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) or less commonly, herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1). Genital herpes is typified by outbreaks of painful lesions in or around the genitals. Touching these lesions is typically painful, and many describe the pain as a burning sensation. If there are lesions present inside the vagina, you may not know they are present. You may only feel the pain intermittently (during intercourse or tampon insertion, etc.). Another STD called trichomoniasis can cause pain or burning of the vagina because the skin becomes irritated and inflamed by the infection.

Symptoms alone are not enough to determine exactly what is happening, since symptoms can be caused by many different processes. If you experience any unusual symptoms, such as vaginal burning, you should consider going to your doctor for a physical exam, as well as undergoing testing. If you are sexually active, it's important to consider STD testing as part of your overall evaluation for symptoms of vaginal burning.

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