Vaginal pain isn’t a topic easy to discuss, but it’s a fairly common concern among women of all ages. Infections, diseases, cysts, and even atrophy of the tissues can cause pain.
Below, we ask Dr. Rachel Spieldoch, our expert at McDowell Mountain Gynecology in Scottsdale, Arizona, to share some possible causes for vaginal pain and discuss what treatments are available.
1. Yeast infections
Vaginal candidiasis, as yeast infections are also known, occur when there is too much yeast in the vagina. Your vagina has a microbiome that can be thrown off by the use of antibiotics, hormone changes, and sometimes even using the wrong hygiene products.
If your vaginal pain is accompanied by itching, burning, and swelling, an infection could be at the root of it. Treatment usually involves antifungal medications.
2. Vaginal atrophy
If your vaginal pain appears during intercourse, it could be due to low estrogen. Estrogen regulates collagen production and, as a result, elasticity, lubrication, and the thickness of the vaginal lining.
When estrogen levels are lower, either as a consequence of a condition or due to aging, pain and irritation can persist.
Treatments usually involve the use of hormone replacement therapy or vaginal rejuvenation with the help of radiofrequency. Radiofrequency is a non-invasive, local treatment used to stimulate collagen in the vagina even when estrogen levels are lower.
Endometriosis causes tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) to grow outside of the uterus. When this tissue ends up in the pelvic area, it can cause pain and inflammation during intercourse.
Vaginal pain associated with endometriosis may involve treatments that reduce estrogen, as the tissue growth is highly dependent on estrogen. Pain medications and sometimes surgical interventions are needed to remove the unwanted tissue.
Vulvodynia is chronic pain (pain that lasts more than three months) in the vagina that can’t be otherwise explained by an infection, trauma to the vagina, or an underlying condition. Experts aren’t sure what causes it, but some suspect nerve damage in the vagina, muscle spasms, genetic predispositions, and a history of frequent yeast infections.
Although the cause isn’t fully understood, pain management may include nerve block medications, topical lidocaine, and lifestyle changes.
Don’t ignore your vaginal pain
Whether the cause of your pain is an untreated infection or a problem with lubrication, if you leave it untreated, your pain may worsen. But in the hands of our experts, you’ll get comprehensive testing, and pain can become a problem of the past.
Call us today to schedule an appointment. We’ll help you find out what’s causing your pain and get you quick relief.