Sex is supposed to be a fun and pleasurable experience, but, it can become uncomfortable if you have vaginal burning after sex. Are you one of them who has lost interest in sex because of this painful symptom? Well, you are not alone and it’s actually super common.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) nearly 3 out of every 4 women experience vaginal burning after sex at some point in their lives. If your vagina burns after sex or while peeing after sex there is a good chance something is “not right”. But relax, you don’t have to “put up with it.”
While vaginal burning after sex should not be neglected, it is also not something to stress about. Vaginal burning is easily curable once you figure out what’s causing it and, if necessary, consult with your doctor on how to cure it.
In this article, we have listed some of the common reasons that can cause vaginal burning after sex, and also a number of simple ways to prevent them. Read on to know more.
Causes of burning sensation after sex
There are several reasons for vaginal burning after sex. Some of the most common ones are:
1. Not enough lubrication
When there isn’t enough lubrication, it can cause pain and make your vagina burn after sex. This is commonly due to a lack of foreplay.
When you are sexually stimulated, your body produces natural lubrication and prevents dryness and burning.
Other causes are low levels of estrogen after menopause, postpartum, or during breast-feeding. Estrogen is a hormone that aids in vaginal lubrication and maintains its elasticity. Low levels of estrogen can cause vaginal dryness, thinning, and inflammation of vaginal walls.
Certain medications, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure medicines, pain medications, and birth control pills, might impact your sexual desire or arousal, reducing lubrication and making sex uncomfortable.
- Try to engage in foreplay before sex.
- Use lubricants to reduce friction.
2. Allergies and skin irritation
Allergies due to tampons, pads, and lubricants may cause symptoms such as itching, swelling, and burning. Certain objects like sex toys and latex condoms can also trigger an allergic reaction. They will cause similar symptoms, such as burning and stinging.
Skin irritation due to an accident, pelvic surgery, or skin problem like eczema in your genital area can also cause vaginal burning after sex.
Also, rough sexual intercourse, especially without lubrication, can cause friction, skin irritation, and burning.
- Use non-latex condoms, try other brands or types of condoms.
- Avoid having sex until your skin problem is completely healed.
- Apply an ice pack to the irritated skin around your genital area.
- Avoid indulging in rough sex without using a lubricant.
Various infections such as sexually transmitted infection (STI) like chlamydia, gonorrhoea, or genital herpes can cause burning or pain, during or after sex. Some common symptoms of STI are:
- Vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding
- Pain around the abdomen or pelvis
- Pain when urinating
Other genital infections that can cause a burning sensation around the vagina are:
Urinary tract infections (UTIs): UTIs lead to swelling around your bladder and urethra (the tube that carries urine out of your body during urination). Pressure around these areas during sex can cause burning pain.
Yeast infections: Yeast infections are fungal infections that lead to irritation, itching, and vaginal discharge. The discharge has a cottage cheese appearance without any foul odor. You may also experience a burning sensation, especially during intercourse or while urinating after sex.
In most cases, the infection is caused by antibiotic usage or an imbalance of natural flora in the vagina.
Bacterial vaginosis: Bacterial vaginosis alters the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in your vagina, allowing harmful germs to thrive. Its symptoms are pain or burning after sex, itchiness, and a green colour vaginal discharge. Intake of Probiotics for bacterial vaginosis in such cases is very beneficial.
- Consult your doctor if you have had unprotected sex and are experiencing the symptoms of STI.
- Other vaginal infections can be treated with medicines like antibiotics.
- Make sure to complete the treatment regime.
- Drink plenty of water if you have UTI.
- Talk openly to your partner about the infection.
Sex can be painful around the time of menopause (end of menstrual period). The hormonal changes can make your vagina dry. During menopause, your estrogen levels fall, causing the lining of your vagina to thin. This can make intercourse uncomfortable and cause vaginal burning after sex.
- Lubricants can help to alleviate pain.
- You should also consult your doctor to advise low-dose vaginal estrogen.
While cleaning your genital area is important, some products like vaginal lotions, wash, and douching products can disrupt the natural balance down there. The products can cause irritation and result in infections or inflammation, which may cause your vagina to burn after sex.
- Avoid using chemical washes and lotions.
- Clean your vagina with warm water only.
- Wipe the genitals from the front to back to prevent the transfer of bacteria in the urinary tract, vagina, and around the anus.
When should you see a doctor for vaginal burning after sex?
Vaginal burning after sex might sometimes go away on its own. However, most causes of vaginal burning need medical attention.
If your vagina burns after sex regularly, do not ignore it, consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor will be able to find the cause of the problem and advise you if any treatment is required.
- Vaginal burning after sex is common but should not be ignored.
- Indulging in rough sex without lubrication can cause a burning sensation in your vagina.
- Avoid sexual intercourse if you have signs of skin allergies and vaginal infections.
- Women after menopause may experience vaginal burning due to changes in hormones.
- Avoid douching as it can hamper the natural flora around your genital area.
- Why does sex hurt?. nhs.uk. https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/sexual-health/why-does-sex-hurt/. Published 2022. Accessed April 19, 2022.
- Experiencing Vaginal Dryness? Here’s What You Need to Know. Acog.org. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/experts-and-stories/the-latest/experiencing-vaginal-dryness-heres-what-you-need-to-know. Published 2022. Accessed April 19, 2022.