Chronic Vaginal Burning: When to See a Doctor

Is vaginal burning causing you discomfort and distress?  Vaginal burning is a common problem that affects most women at some time in their life, but there are many different causes.  The condition is often treated using over-the-counter medication.  However, when vaginal burning becomes chronic, it’s time to see a doctor.

Chronic Vaginal Burning: When to See a Doctor

Short episodes of vaginal burning are usually not a cause for concern.  However, if you have chronic vaginal burning that persists for several weeks, it is crucial to see a doctor for an evaluation.

You should also see your doctor about chronic vaginal burning if you have other symptoms such as discharge, irritation, and odor, as this could indicate a serious condition like vulvodynia. 

What Is Vulvodynia?

Vulvodynia is chronic pain in the vulva (area at the opening of the vagina), which lasts for more than three months and has no identifiable gynecological cause.  The pain may be persistent or occur in response to pressure or touch and is often described as aching, searing, sharp, or throbbing. 

The vaginal burning is often so acute it makes normal activities such as walking, sitting, or exercising challenging. The condition also prompts painful intercourse. 

Treating Vulvodynia

The experts in vaginal healthcare at Fowler GYN International (FGI) have successfully treated hundreds of women with vulvodynia.  

Dr. R. Stuart Fowler, a leading vulvovaginal specialist and founder of FGI, has carried out extensive research into the cause of vulvodynia.  Through this research, Dr. Fowler discovered that the underlying etiology of vulvodynia is an altered vaginal microflora pattern.   

An altered vaginal microflora varies from the normal microflora patterns as a result of changes in the vaginal milieu.  These changes disrupt the balance of bacteria in the ecosystem and lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria.  

When the friendly bacteria no longer dominate the ecosystem, the vaginal secretions that emerge irritate the tissues at the vaginal opening.   This gives rise to a variety of symptoms that vary depending on the sensitivity of the tissues.  

At FGI, vulvodynia is diagnosed with the help of a vaginal fluid analysis (VFA) test.   The VFA test detects the presence of an altered vaginal microflora pattern by providing  a quantitative analysis of the vaginal fluid.  

If the results of the VFA test indicate that the vaginal microflora is abnormal, FGI formulates a customized treatment protocol.  The treatment plan usually involves prescription medication designed to move the vaginal microflora towards normal.   

When this is achieved, the symptoms associated with vulvodynia will resolve. 

Patients are also advised to make the switch to hypocontactant skincare products that are free of irritating chemicals.  Women with vulvodynia often have sensitive external genitalia tissues, and using hypocontactant products will ensure that they avoid potential irritants.

It typically takes 3-4 months for patients to notice an improvement in symptoms.  However, it can take up to 12 months for the vaginal burning to stop.  

Vulvodynia is a condition that is difficult to diagnose, and coming up with an accurate diagnosis requires the use of advanced diagnostic tools that many doctors don’t invest in.  As a result, vulvodynia is often misdiagnosed, so many women with the condition suffer with symptoms for a long time. 

If you have been experiencing chronic vaginal burning, it is critical to consult with a gynecologist with the necessary expertise and tools to accurately diagnose the cause and recommend effective treatment.

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