Sharp Vagina Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Pain in the vagina or technically vulvodynia is a common problem among women of all ages and races. In most cases, there is no clear cause of the pain, so it is not even considered as a painful syndrome at times. The exact reason for the pain is very tough to decipher and many women are left without a diagnosis.

Vaginal pain can severely affect your life by limiting your capacity to perform daily activities. It can impair your ability to exercise or socialize, as well as decrease your desire to have sex. A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study showed that most women with sharp vaginal pain feel "out of control" and unable to have sexual intercourse, and are unable to fully enjoy life. If you feel this way due to vaginal pain, seek medical consult.

Types of sharp pain in vagina

Vaginal pain usually causes sharp pain in the vulva as well as other genital areas such as the labia, clitoris, and vaginal opening. There are two different types of vaginal pain:

  1. Generalized pain can be felt in different parts of the vulva at different times. This pain can be present constantly or can come and go sporadically. The pain may or may not be triggered by touching, though this may increase the intensity of the pain.
  2. Vulvar vestibulitis syndrome or pain in the vaginal opening is a different type of vaginal pain that is usually felt as a "burning" or "cutting" sensation in the vaginal opening. This uncomfortable sensation is most often caused by physical action like touching or intercourse. The syndrome affects approximately 10-15% of women who seek gynaecological care.

Causes of sharp pain in the vagina

There is no known direct cause of sharp vaginal pain in most patients. However, in 50-85% of cases, it is caused by an underlying medical condition that may or may not have any direct connection with the female genitalia. More often, the pain is associated with psychological issues such as depression or issues regarding a person's sexual identity. Possible causes of vaginal pain include the following:

Symptoms of sharp pain in vagina

The main symptom is pain in the genital area, but it can also be accompanied by one or more of the following:

These symptoms can be constant or occur intermittently; it can get worse with physical contact such as intercourse or tampon insertion. The symptoms can last from months to years. The location of the symptoms can vary greatly. Pain might be present in a specific area or can be felt across the entire vulva. Daily activities like sitting, biking, or horseback riding can also trigger or exacerbate the symptoms.

Preparation and treatments

There is no standard treatment available for sharp vaginal pain. Each woman is usually given a different treatment according to her individual symptoms. Some get partial or complete relief; others do not get any relief.

The type and length of treatment varies greatly and depends on factors including intensity of symptoms and the patient's medical history. A single patient might undergo multiple treatments over the course of many months to find the most efficient one. Type of treatment also depends on its affordability. Usually you will end up seeing a gynaecologist, a doctor who specializes in the female reproductive tract. While visiting your doctor, feel free and comfortable to discuss everything that you think might be relevant. This greatly helps the doctor to narrow down the possible causes for the problem. Here are some of the things-to-do before you visit your doctor:

As mentioned previously, the treatment options vary greatly depending on each individual's needs. Following are some of the common treatment options:

Home Remedies and Self-care

The following home tips can help you to manage your vaginal pain symptoms:

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