Experiencing vaginal burning is a relatively common experience. Sometimes the cause is nothing too alarming and it can clear up quickly, while other times it could be indicative of an infection or something more serious that definitely needs treatment stat!
I’m about to cover a lot of questions you may have if you’re currently experiencing vaginal burning and discomfort, including:
- Can a yeast infection cause burning?
- What STD gives you a burning sensation?
- Can vaginal itching and burning go away on its own?
Then we’ll get to the natural home remedies for vaginal itching and burning that can really help improve symptoms fast.
What Is Vaginal Burning?
Vaginal burning can be a sign of an STD, a reaction to something you used (such as a soap or laundry detergent) or the first noticeable sign of vaginitis, which is a medical term that describes various disorders that cause inflammation or infection of the vagina.
What is vaginal burning? Vaginal burning is an abnormal burning or stinging irritation that often occurs during urination. It’s also possible to experience vulvar itching and burning. The vulvar region of female anatomy includes the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, Bartolin’s glands and the entrance to the vagina.
It’s totally normal for a woman’s vagina to produce a discharge; it is often clear or just a little bit cloudy, has very little odor and is non-irritating. When vaginal discharge has an odor or is accompanied by burning, itching or other irritation, this is typically considered an abnormal discharge. Burning can also occur without discharge and is often made worse by intercourse. (1)
Causes & Risk Factors
- Bacterial vaginosis (BV) (symptoms often include thin, watery discharge)
- Yeast infection (yeast infection discharge is white, thick, clumpy and odorless)
- Vaginal creams used to treat yeast infections (Ironically, there’s yeast infection burning and then there’s the vaginal cream (miconazole nitrate) that is commonly prescribed for vaginal yeast infections that has side effects like vaginal irritation, burning, redness and itching.)
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- STDs, including:
- Chemical irritants, including creams, douches, bubble baths, condoms, contraceptive foams, laundry detergents, soaps, scented toilet paper and fabric softeners.
- An allergic reaction to semen (possible but rare)
- Friction from toilet paper
Vaginal burning can be a constant irritation or it can be experienced intermittently when irritants are introduced to the area (such as during intercourse). Sometimes vaginal burning goes away on its own, but when the burning is caused by an STD or an infection, treatment is necessary to relieve the burning.
Can vaginal itching and burning be signs of vulvar cancer?
Signs and symptoms of this type of cancer do include include itching, burning, inflammation or pain in the vulvar region. Other symptoms of cancer include a lump or sore on the vulva, changes in the skin color or a bump in the groin. (4)
Risk factors for vaginal burning include: (5)
- Unprotected intercourse
- Multiple sexual partners
- Using IUDs for contraception
- Antibiotic use
- Use of products with chemical irritants
- Cigarette smoking
- Having a suppressed immune system
- Oral contraceptives
To figure out the root cause of vaginal burning, your doctor will likely ask you questions about your symptoms and perform a pelvic exam. During this exam, samples of vaginal discharge will likely be collected for testing. In some situations where certain diseases are suspected, a biopsy may also be taken to confirm diagnosis.
How are vaginal itching, burning and irritation treated? Each cause of vaginal burning has its own symptoms and forms of treatment. Vaginal irritation can get better on its own. If your vaginal burning and irritation is persistent, severe or returns after treatment, you should see your doctor.
The way in which vaginal burning and discomfort are treated conventionally depends upon the cause: (6)
- Vaginosis and STDs are usually treated with antibiotics/antiparasitics.
- Yeast infections are treated with antifungal medications.
- Menopause-related itching and burning may be treated with estrogen cream, tablets or a vaginal ring insert.
- For other causes, steroid creams or lotions may be used to reduce inflammation.
If you are choosing a conventional form of treatment for vaginal burning, I highly recommend being aware of the possible side effects of your treatment. For example, common side effects of a steroid cream like hydrocortisone include skin redness/burning/itching/peeling, thinning of the skin, blistering skin, stretch marks and nausea. (7)
8 Natural Remedies for Vaginal Burning Symptoms
These are some of the natural ways you can help to improve vaginal burning and irritation starting today:
1. Probiotic-Rich Foods and Supplements
Having a healthy balance of bacteria in your body is certainly key to your overall health and especially important for good vaginal health. A common cause of vaginal burning is a yeast infection, which occurs when candida bacteria overproduce in the body. Consuming probiotic-rich foods daily (including those that contain good bacteria such as acidophilus and lactobacillus) can help to fight off all different types of infections and are proven to be helpful for candida infections. (8)
Probiotics can also be helpful for the body if you’re trying to overcome chlamydia or gonorrhea symptoms. If you opt to take antibiotics for any STD, you really want to make sure you eat probiotic foods and take a probiotic supplement since the antibiotics will be killing off both good and bad bacteria in your body.
Probiotic yogurt is one of the many great options that can easily be consumed on a daily basis. You can also take a high-quality probiotic supplement.
2. Natural Products
According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Not uncommonly, a woman can have itching, burning, and even a vaginal discharge without having an infection. The most common cause is an allergic reaction or irritation from vaginal sprays, douches or spermicidal products.” (1)
Chemical irritants including creams, douches, bubble bath, condoms, contraceptive foams, laundry detergents, soaps, scented toilet paper and fabric softeners can all irritate the vagina and vulva. You may likely have no discharge with a burning sensation. It’s time to stop using any suspected offenders immediately.
Going forward, it’s so important to pick the right products so you don’t cause yourself vaginal irritation. Your safest bet is often to choose products that use gentle, natural ingredients and are also free of synthetic scents, or an even safer better: completely scent-free. For starters, you absolutely don’t want or need scented or colored toilet paper. When it comes to your laundry, completely scent-free is best for sensitive skin.
3. Good Hygiene
In addition to avoiding products that can cause vaginal burning and using better, natural products, there also some habits that can really help to improve and avoid vaginal burning.
A simple yet important thing to do when you go to the bathroom is to always wipe yourself from front to back because this prevents fecal matter from entering your vagina, where it can wreak havoc. You also never use scented tampons or pads. Ideally, opt for organic, chemical-free versions of these products. Pads tend to be less irritating than tampons; You may want to try making that switch if you’re struggling with vaginal burning. Wearing cotton underwear and avoiding tight-fitting pants can also be helpful.
4. Anti-Viral Herbs
If you’re experiencing vaginal burning due to HPV or another sexually transmitted infection, you’ll want to up your intake of immune boosting and virus-fighting herbs. Some powerful options available in tea, capsule, tincture and/or essential oil form include:
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar uses are definitely plentiful. In fact, it may even help to balance vaginal pH, which can help to relieve vaginal burning. One recommendation is to try rinsing the vulva in a solution of two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and one cup of water twice per day until symptoms improve. (9) Of course, if you don’t find this to help symptoms or make symptoms worse, discontinue use of apple cider vinegar externally.
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another natural remedy for vaginal burning, especially if you’re trying to fight candida because coconut oil is known to have potent antimicrobial properties. (10) The combination of lauric acid and caprylic acid found in coconut oil can help to kill off harmful candida through both ingestion and topical application.
Trichomoniasis is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in the world, and it can often cause vaginal burning in women (as well as burning after urination in men). Research has shown that myrrh may be able to help if trichomoniasis is the cause of your unpleasant burning.
A study published in the Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology evaluated the effects of giving two capsules of myrrh (Commiphora molmol) for six to eight days to metronidazole-resistant women with trichomoniasis. The female subjects took the myrrh capsules two hours before breakfast on an empty stomach. According to the study, results were promising. (11)
8. Cool Compress
A simple cool compress can help to temporarily relieve vaginal itching and burning. The cold temperature can help to calm down any inflammation and irritation. This will likely be helpful in all cases of vaginal burning but is often recommended for vaginal burning due to menopause. You can put a couple of ice cubes in a clean, cotton washcloth and apply it to the problem area for 30 seconds at a time. You can also rinse your vagina with cold water several times a day to help relieve the burning feeling. (12)
Some root causes of vaginal burning go away on their own or are easily resolved (such as changing or stopping the use of an irritating bath product). If burning continues and you start having additional symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor.
If you experience vaginal bleeding, burning, itching or pain that is persistent and/or unexplained by normal circumstances (such as menstruation in the case of vaginal bleeding), you should contact your healthcare provider.
Pruritus vulvae is a persistently itchy vulva that causes distress. The vulva is the skin located outside the vagina, including the lips of the vagina and the skin between the vagina and the anus. If you experience a persistently itchy vulva, you should see your doctor to find out the cause. (13)
Discomfort during urination and a burning sensation in cervix can be signs of cervical cancer so again, see your doctor if you have these symptoms. (14)
- Vaginal burning is an abnormal burning or stinging irritation that often occurs during urination.
- There are many possible causes of vaginal burning, including various STDS, infections and product usage.
- Sometimes vaginal burning can go away on its on, especially if the cause is not something serious.
- Always see your doctor if you experience vaginal burning, itching, pain or bleeding that is persistent and/or unexplained by normal circumstances.
- Both conventional and natural treatment of vaginal burning is often different based on the root cause.
Natural Remedies for Vaginal Burning:
- Probiotic-rich foods and supplements
- Use natural products that won’t irritate the vagina
- Good hygiene practices
- Anti-viral herbs
- Apple cider vinegar
- Coconut Oil
- Cool compresses