What Does Vaginal Burning Mean and When to See a Doctor?

Vaginal burning can ruin your day, but if it refuses to go away, you may feel like it ruins your life. Even worse, the burning can come with other symptoms. How do you know when vaginal burning is a sign of something more serious? 

What Does Vaginal Burning Mean?

Vaginal burning means something has irritated the vulva or the vestibule (opening to the vagina). While vaginal burning can have many causes, the most common cause is contact with some type of irritant. In some cases, the irritant comes in the form of a new body wash or a swim in a chlorinated pool. In other cases, the irritant comes from the vagina itself. Vaginal burning may indicate an imbalance of the vaginal microflora, natural vaginal residents that usually live in a balanced state. 

When Should I See a Doctor About Vaginal Burning?

Many women have isolated incidents of vaginal burning that go away without treatment. Most people come into contact with many types of irritants each day. You should see a vulvovaginal specialist like the ones at Fowler GYN International if your vaginal burning meets these criteria:

  • It does not go away or goes away but keeps coming back
  • You have other symptoms like odor, discharge, or pain during intercourse
  • It affects your quality of life

Vaginal symptoms should never get in the way of your ability to live your life the way you want to. See a doctor right away if your vaginal burning makes you feel frustrated and helpless. Your symptoms may come from a hard-to-diagnose but treatable cause. 

What Causes Vaginal Burning?

If you visit your gynecologist about vaginal burning, they can only test for a few microorganisms that might cause it. Chronic vaginal burning often has a chronic cause: altered vaginal microflora (AVMF). A normal vagina supports a healthy population of bacteria called lactobacilli. These beneficial bacteria make lactic acid, keeping the vagina acidic. Other bacteria and yeasts have trouble growing in this acidic environment, keeping their growth in check. 

When the lactobacilli population declines, the vagina becomes less acidic, and other organisms can thrive. They secrete chemicals that traumatize the cells of the vulva and vaginal opening. These injured cells trigger the many nerve endings in this sensitive area, causing a burning and itching sensation. 

How Can I Stop My Vaginal Burning?

Your vulvovaginal specialist will use advanced testing methods to determine the root cause of your AVMF. Based on these findings, you will be placed on a treatment protocol to treat these causes while letting your chronically inflamed skin heal. Results take time and commitment, but unlike most other methods, these treatment protocols restore your healthy microflora and push problematic organisms back into the corners where they belong.

Take the Next Step

The experts in vaginal health at Fowler GYN International (FGI) Phoenix, AZ, specialize in the treatment of vulvovaginal conditions. The team at FGI is led by Dr. R. Stuart Fowler. Dr. Fowler is an Emeritus Mayo Clinic board-certified gynecologist.You can reach FGI at https://www.fowlergyninternational.com/, or by calling (480) 420-4001.

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