Vaginal Pain: Why Do You Feel It?

30 May, 2020
Vaginal pain can appear as a symptom of certain infections, like herpes simplex or gonorrhea. It's also common during pregnancy, and in some women with a condition called dyspareunia. You should always get a proper diagnosis to be able to treat it.

Vaginal pain is a very annoying symptom that affects many women. In reality, it’s a pain that appears in your vagina, normally a quick and stabbing pain.

The vagina is a very sensitive area that is susceptible to infections. We aren’t just talking about sexually transmitted diseases, but also infections from lowered defenses or improper hygiene.

In addition to infections, there are other situations that can cause changes and pain in that area, like pregnancy. However, you should investigate any symptom or discomfort and learn the cause.

For this reason, in this article we’ll explain the most common reasons that might cause you to feel vaginal pain. It’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t feel ashamed about it, since it’s just like any other part of your body.

Vaginal pain during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a stage of many changes in a woman’s body. The most evident and logical is that the uterus increases in size to accommodate the fetus. The uterus is an organ surrounded by ligaments and muscle fibers.

All the female reproductive system is in contact. Therefore, when these fibers stretch to increase the size of the uterus, you can experience discomfort in lower areas like the vagina. In fact, it can cause pain that can even spread out to your hips.

It’s common for this vaginal pain to appear, especially at the start of pregnancy. The truth is, it’s a very common symptom. Even so, you should see a gynecologist to do a complete checkup and rule out other causes.

Pregnant woman holding her stomach.
You might feel pain during pregnancy in lower areas, like around the vagina.

You might be interested in: The Different Types of Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal pain from sex

In this section, we’re not talking about sexually transmitted diseases. Apart from infections, vaginal pain can also be due to other sexual reasons. Firstly, it can be caused by a small injury during sex. 

Any vaginal injury can cause vaginal pain. Additionally, it’s important to mention that it could be due to dyspareunia. Dyspareunia is the medical term used to talk about discomfort and pain during sexual relations.

Although this pain is many times due to a lack of arousal and lubrication, it can also be a consequence of a psychological problem. Many women suffer from a type of “mental block” when they have sexual relations.

Likewise, many women who have suffered from sexual abuse experience dyspareunia. It’s a condition that can be treated, but it requires a lot of understanding and support for the woman.

Woman holding her pelvis.
Vaginal pain can feel like a stabbing pain, or like a cramp.

You might be interested in: 8 Things You Should Do To Take Care of Your Vaginal Health

Illnesses that can cause vaginal pain

Vaginal pain can be a symptom of several different illnesses. It most commonly appears as a consequence of an infection. For example, with a yeast infection, chlamydia, or gonorrhea.

Additionally, some of these infections can trigger chronic pelvic inflammatory disease. This is an inflammatory process that stretches from the vagina to the Fallopian tubes. Stabbing pain is often one of its symptoms.

On the other hand, it’s important to note that endometriosis can also be the cause. This is a condition in which the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, which is stimulated with each menstruation. The same thing happens with ovarian cysts.

Finally, vaginal pain could be a symptom of an ectopic pregnancy. This is when the embryo, instead of implanting itself on the uterus, does it in another part of the female reproductive system.

What to do when you have vaginal pain?

Because of everything we just mentioned, you can’t ignore this symptom and hope it goes away. It’s important to go to a doctor with any discomfort, and even more so if you have a repetitive sharp pain in your vagina. That could indicate that something is wrong in your body.

A health professional will order the appropriate tests and diagnose the cause. Once they have the diagnosis, it’s easier to start the proper treatment for each situation.

  • Tipos De Dolor Vaginal Y Cómo Reconocerlos. (n.d.). Retrieved February 25, 2020, from https://aesopspain.org/tipos-de-dolor-vaginal-y-como-reconocerlos/
  • López-Olmos, J. “Dispareunia: investigación de causa física y de causa infecciosa crónica (estudio prospectivo de 4 años).” Clínica e Investigación en Ginecología y Obstetricia 35.5 (2008): 152-159.
  • Fall, M., et al. “Dolor pélvico crónico.” Eur Urol 57.1 (2010): 35-48.
  • Ezcurra, R., N. Lamberto, and V. Peñas. “Dolor abdomino-pélvico en ginecología.” Anales del Sistema Sanitario de Navarra. Vol. 32. Gobierno de Navarra. Departamento de Salud, 2009.