What is vaginal pain?

Vaginal pain is pain or discomfort in the vagina, sometimes extending to the entire genital area. Some women describe it as a raw sensation or a burning, itching or stinging feeling. The symptoms may range in intensity from mild to severe, and they may improve or worsen with movement or sexual activity.

Symptoms caused by injury often have a sudden onset. Other symptoms may develop slowly and persist and worsen over time, such those related to infectious disease.

Vaginal pain can result from damage or injury to any of the structures of the vulva (external genitalia), including inner and outer labia, vagina, vaginal opening, or the vagina itself. Sometimes, vaginal pain is actually referred pain that originates from injury, disease or infection elsewhere in the vulvar region.

Pain and discomfort in the vulva (vulvodynia) is a common cause of vaginal soreness. Others causes include skin irritation from rashes or household chemicals, recurring infections, and some cancers. Vaginal yeast infections and sexually transmitted diseases can result in vaginal pain. Further, pain may be related to a chronic underlying disease that affects the pelvic organs or other regions of the body.

Vaginal pain alone is rarely a serious medical condition. However, it may be associated with symptoms of a serious or life-threatening condition. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you have high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), severe pain, chills, or rapid heart rate (tachycardia).

If your vaginal pain is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with vaginal pain?

Vaginal pain may accompany other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the vagina may also involve other body systems.... Read more about vaginal painsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes vaginal pain?

Infections and skin disorders may cause vaginal pain. Disease or injury to any of the structures in the vulvar region can also result in vaginal pain. In addition, vaginal pain can be caused by underlying conditions that involve the body as a whole or the pelvic organs specifically.... Read more about vaginal paincauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.