Vaginal pain can caused by a number of conditions that happen within a woman's body. These conditions may vary from mild to severe, depending on the situation and the length of time a woman has been experiencing pain. The pain may be accompanied with other symptoms. Regardless of the severity of the pain, an examination should be performed by a physician to diagnose the problem. Once the diagnosis has been made, proper treatment can be administered.
Having pain in the vagina or around the outside of the vagina may be caused by an infection called vaginitis. Other symptoms for vaginitis may include a vaginal discharge and itching. Yeast infections are a type of vaginitis that can be treated with an over-the-counter anti-yeast cream or suppository that can be placed inside the vaginal canal. If the vaginitis is caused by bacteria, however, an antibiotic is needed to clear up the infection and prevent it from spreading any further.
Genital herpes can cause vaginal pain in a woman. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can be transferred from one person to another through sexual intercourse. In women, it causes outbreaks periodically in the vagina and on the surrounding areas. These areas become covered with blisters that develop into tiny ulcers once the blister breaks, causing severe vaginal pain. Genital herpes is extremely contagious and while there are no known cures for genital herpes, there are various prescription medications that can shorten the outbreak period and prevent the virus from multiplying.
If the vaginal pain occurs during sexual intercourse, this is called dyspareunia. Dyspareunia is categorized based on the symptoms a woman has, the levels of pain she is experiencing, and what the physician finds during his evaluation. The more common conditions of dyspareunia are vaginal atrophy, vaginismus, vulvodynia, vulvar vestibulitis and internal scar tissue.
Vaginal atrophy is caused by changing hormone levels that cause dryness and irritation. Vaginismus is a condition that involves muscle spasms within the vagina during an attempt at entry. Vulvar vestibulitis is an inflammation of the vaginal opening and inner labia, causing extreme tenderness. There is no identifiable cause for vulvodynia, only vaginal pain that erupts in different areas of a woman's genital area. Adhesions are inner scar tissues caused by previous surgeries that involved childbirth and can cause severe pain, making sexual intercourse painful and lessen the woman's ability to achieve an orgasm.
Treatments for all the different causes of dyspareunia vary. Medications may be used to help restore natural hormonal balances in the woman's body. These medications may be used orally or in the form of creams. Behavioral management may be sought through acupuncture while physical therapy uses a hands-on approach to relaxing muscles in the pelvic area. Sometimes surgery is needed when all other methods of treatment have failed.
Other conditions such as bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, genital warts, lichen planus and menopause all affect a woman's vagina and the surrounding areas. Whether or not vaginal pain is experienced as a symptom of one of these conditions will vary from woman to woman. Treatment will vary depending on the severity of each situation as well.