Why Does My Pussy Burn After Sex?

Whether you’re in the middle of a steaming sex session or not, feeling a burning sensation down there can be pretty scary. Luckily, most of the time it’s nothing to worry about.

A common cause of vulva pain is lack of lubrication. But there are a few other causes, too.

Vaginismus

If you have vaginismus (pain during sex or when inserting a tampon), your pelvic muscles might be involuntarily tight and contracted. The pain can be triggered by a number of factors, including infections like gonorrhea or chlamydia, unprotected sex and even childbirth. If this is the case, it’s worth getting tested for STIs to get the treatment you need.

Women with vaginismus have involuntary muscle tightness and fear of penetration, which causes painful sex or dyspareunia. They often experience episodes of pain over time, leading to a loss of pleasure and intimacy with their partners. Unaddressed, this can lead to couples stopping sexual activity altogether out of frustration and despair.

It’s important to talk to your doctor if you have vaginismus because it could be an indicator of an underlying health problem or an STI. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and medical history and do a pelvic exam. They might also recommend numbing cream and vaginal dilators to help you become more comfortable with, and less sensitive to, penetration.

Some people have global vaginismus, meaning they feel pain in response to all forms of penetration, while others have situational vaginismus, which means they can have sex but aren’t able to insert a tampon or have a gynecological exam because of the discomfort. Treatment includes addressing any underlying health problems, psychological therapy and pelvic dilators to help you tolerate penetration over time.

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Vestibulodynia

When a woman is sexually aroused, the vagina produces its own natural lubrication. This lubrication reduces friction during penetration and is important for a comfortable sex. Without it, sex can be painful for both partners and is more likely to lead to an unwanted outcome.

When the vulva stops producing its own lubrication, a condition called vestibulodynia can occur. This is the most common cause of burning during or after sex and can be caused by infection, hormone imbalance or a side-effect from medication. It is also common for women to develop this condition after childbirth and during menopause.

In some cases, a woman’s body can start to produce low amounts of the hormone prolactin, which is necessary for the production of lubrication. This is a common side-effect of taking birth control pills. This is known as provoked vestibulodynia, and it is a reaction to the low doses of hormones in the pill.

Fortunately, there are ways to ease the pain and discomfort from this condition. Using a glycerol gel that is available in pharmacies can help to relieve the pain. Alternatively, using an ice pack can help to numb the area and ease the sensations of burning. If the symptoms persist, then it is worth visiting your GP to discuss treatment options. These treatments include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), couples or sex therapists and pelvic floor physical therapy like Kegel exercises that incorporate biofeedback.

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Infections

If the burning sensation after sex is painful, it could be an infection. Infections like a urinary tract infection or STIs (like chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes) can cause pain when they press against the bladder or urethra during sex. This type of discomfort is pretty common and usually won’t last long once you start taking antibiotics.

It’s also possible to develop a bacterial vaginitis or yeast infection after sex, which can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. It’s important to let a health care provider know about these symptoms so they can diagnose the underlying cause.

Lastly, you could be experiencing pain in the bottom part of your vulva after sex because of something called a fourchette tear. This is a small strip of skin at the base of your vulva that tears easily from friction. The pain can feel like a paper cut and is most often caused by vigorous sexual activity or prolonged vaginal intercourse.

You can ease the pain of a fourchette tear with over-the-counter medicine, and it’s best to use a barrier method during sex to prevent future injuries. Other infections that can cause pain and burning during sex include herpes, a urinary tract infection, a yeast infection or an allergic reaction to lubricants, condoms, perfume or laundry detergent. It’s important to discuss these symptoms with a health care provider so you can get them under control.

Irritation

If you have a feeling that something isn’t quite right down there after intimate moments, it’s important to rule out any infections or irritation that may be causing your pain. It could also be a sign that you are suffering from a sexually transmitted disease such as gonorrhea or trichomoniasis, and a visit to your GP is definitely in order here.

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If your discomfort is due to lack of lubrication, a good quality lubricant will help to reduce friction and prevent the irritation down below. The lubrication in the vagina is naturally produced but levels can decrease during the menstrual cycle, after childbirth and while breastfeeding. It can be impacted by some medications too.

It’s also worth mentioning that the fourchette at the bottom of your vulva can tear and hurt after sex, even if you’re using a condom. This is often referred to as the ‘paper cut of the vulva’ and it feels like an intense paper cut or burning. It can also cause a lot of pain during urination and when it comes in contact with water.

If you are having this kind of pain after sex, try pouring some warm water over your vulva before urinating to reduce the burning sensations. If your symptoms are severe, it’s best to visit a gynecologist or urologist, and discuss the possible causes of the pain.

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