Why My Vagina Burns When I Pee

white toilet bowl with cistern

Pain or burning when peeing, a condition called dysuria, is often nothing to worry about. But if it persists, get yourself checked by a doctor, as it can be an indication of a serious medical issue.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes can also cause painful peeing. Frequent STD testing is the best way to avoid untreated infections that can lead to long-term problems.

Causes

The most common reason for burning when you pee is an infection or irritation of the vulva or vagina. This includes yeast infections (a fungal infection that grows in the vulva, causing pain and itching) as well as urinary tract infections. UTIs are when bacteria, often E coli, get into your bladder or urethra, the latter being the tube that carries urine from your body. These infections are the biggest cause of painful urination or dysuria, Sarah Yamaguchi, MD, ob-gyn at Good Samaritan Hospital, tells SELF.

Dysuria can also be caused by bacterial vaginosis, or an overgrowth of certain types of bacteria in the vulva. This is a common problem in women and can be treated with antibiotics. It’s also important to note that your symptoms may be a sign of sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or herpes. These can affect your fertility and are also linked with preterm labor.

In some cases, your doctor will use a small, smooth tube-shaped tool called a speculum to look inside the vagina or vulva. They may also swab the vulva to check for an infection. These tests can feel weird, but they’re necessary for getting accurate and effective treatment.

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Treatment

When pain or a burning sensation is present during peeing, it’s important to find the source of the irritation as soon as possible. A visit to a doctor or nurse practitioner is the best way to do this, as they can take a detailed medical history and examine your vulva. They may also need to take a urine test, vulva or vaginal swab and/or a blood test.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as herpes, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause a painful burning when you pee. If you’re at risk for these infections, especially if you’ve had unprotected sex, see your doctor right away. STIs can also cause genital discharge and other symptoms that are not as obvious as pain during urination.

Bacterial vaginosis is another condition that can cause a burning feeling during urination. Treatment for BV usually includes antibiotics.

Irritation or burning during urination can also be caused by a sensitivity to chemicals, such as in scented body washes and tampons. Try switching to unscented products or using a natural lubricant to help relieve a sensitive vulva. A vinegar water soak can also help balance the vulva’s pH levels and ease the burn. Add 2 ounces of vinegar to a tub of warm water and soak the vulva for 10 minutes twice daily until it clears up.

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Prevention

The best way to prevent vaginal burning when you pee is to stop using any products that might irritate your genitals, including perfumed soaps and douches. Instead, use only unscented soap and water to wash your vulva. Also, avoid tight or clingy clothing, and make sure to change your tampon frequently and wear cotton underwear.

Infections are another common cause of painful urination, especially yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If you have a yeast infection or any other infection that causes pain when you pee, talk to your doctor right away. They may recommend a swab of your vulva lining to test for an infection or other symptoms.

Herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2) outbreaks are the most common STD associated with vaginal burning when you pee. These outbreaks can cause a variety of symptoms, including itching and burning when you pee or have a tampon in. You can avoid herpes outbreaks by using a barrier ointment whenever you get intimate, wearing a condom during intercourse, and washing your vulva after you swim or have a bath or shower.

Burning when you pee can also be a symptom of a bladder or urinary tract infection, like cystitis or urethra. Often, these infections will cause pain or a burning sensation when you pee because urine is acidic and can irritate sensitive areas of your vulva.

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Home Remedies

Vaginal itching is common and may be a sign of many different health conditions, from infections to allergies and sensitivities. It’s important to learn how to recognize the symptoms so you can get the appropriate treatment and prevent future problems.

If you’re experiencing itching and burning when you pee, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider right away. Your nurse or doctor can diagnose what’s causing your pain and prescribe medication to relieve it.

Your provider will review your medical history, including sexual health, to see if an STI is the cause of your pain and burning when you pee. They’ll also do tests to check for STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis. These bacterial STDs can be treated with antibiotics, often in one pill.

You can try home remedies to help ease the itching and burning, but it’s important not to put food or oils into your vulva (outer private area). The toxins from these things could be irritating. Instead, wash your vulva with lukewarm water. Use unscented soap and avoid intimate hygiene products that contain perfumes. Eat more foods that are rich in probiotics to increase the number of healthy bacteria in your vulva. This will promote self-vaginal cleaning and reduce itching. You can find a variety of probiotics in foods such as kimchi, kombucha and kefir.

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