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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"
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.