Why Does My Vagina Burn After Sex? 7 Possible Reasons You May Be In Pain, According To An OB/GYN

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle
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Despite being a boatload of fun, sex doesn't come without the occasional downsides. And one such downside is vaginal burning after intercourse. You know, because the weird noises, the suspicious smells, the possibility of a urinary tract infection, and a whole slew of other somewhat problematic issues weren't enough. But just because your vagina burns after sex, it doesn't necessarily mean doomsday. In fact, it's a fairly common occurrence and can be the result of any number of things.

"There can be many causes of vaginal burning after intercourse and it is important to be evaluated if any of the symptoms linger," Dr. Sheila Loanzon, board certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and author of Yes, I Have Herpes: A Gynecologist’s Perspective In and Out of the Stirrups, tells Bustle, "It is important to distinguish between immediately after versus continued symptoms."

While vaginal burning is something that you shouldn't ignore, it's also not something you need to completely freak out over. It's important to deduce what could be the reason behind it and, if need be, go to your doctor to discuss how to remedy the situation. There's nothing worse than having a great sex, and then laying there in pain afterward — so don't.

Here are seven possible reasons why your vagina is burning after sex.

1Anatomic Discrepancy

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As much as it pains me to write this, sometimes bodies just don't line up well. This can create an issue. While it might feel good during, if your body and your partner's body are too varied in the way they're built, it can definitely cause some pain issues.

"Due to anatomic variations between partners, the friction that is generated from intercourse can cause vaginal burning as well as pain during and after intercourse," says Dr. Loanzon. "A woman’s vaginal opening and/or male penile girth can cause vaginal skin stretching perceived as vaginal burning."

2Too Much Friction During Sex

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"If there are issues with lubrication, lack of foreplay, or perhaps aggressive intercourse, this can cause vaginal burning afterwards," says Dr. Loanzon. "It is important to engage in foreplay to prepare the vaginal tissue, and consider using lubricant to help as well."

This is just another friendly reminder about how important foreplay is to the female anatomy. Remember: it takes at least 20 minutes for a woman to become fully aroused.

3Possible Vaginal Infections

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Although the vagina is totally badass and can, for the most part, take care of herself, infections happen. Stress, for example, can bring on a yeast infections like it's nobody's business! So, yes, infections are common, but when they strike and aren't taken care of, they can mess with your sex life.

"Yeast and bacterial infections caused by changes in the vaginal pH can cause intercourse to be painful and burn afterwards," says Dr. Loanzon. "It is important to be seen by a health care provider to reassure you if an infection is present or not."

4Certain Brands Of Lubrication

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If you're naturally on the dry side or taking a medication that's preventing you from getting wet, lube is a great idea. But not all lube is the same and it's something worth noting.

"Those fancy lubes found at the grocery store with explosions and fireworks for men and women can also causes vaginal burning," says Dr. Loanzon. "It may be due to an insensitivity or allergic reaction to the lubricants so be aware if you have sensitive skin!"

I'm not going to name names, but I tried one of those "explosion-promising" lubes that Dr. Loanzon mentions and it caused a level of burning that I hadn't experienced before or since. Stick to water-based, regular ol' lube.

5Too Much Sex

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"If there is marathon sex occurring this can also cause vaginal burning," says Dr. Loanzon.

Whether you've done it six times in one night (go you!) or having it a couple times a day for several days in a row, it might be time to ease up. Like anything, your vagina sometimes needs a vacation and there are a lot of other things, besides intercourse, that are just as fun.

6Undiagnosed STIs

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"Sometimes the burning you are feeling may be due to undiagnosed STDs," says Dr. Loanzon. "Rarely would burning be due to HIV or syphilis, however gonorrhea and chlamydia can present as burning. A person who has a history of herpes can present with symptoms of vaginal burning, tingling, despite the presence of a sore. If you are having unprotected intercourse (don’t!) consider an STD check to confirm symptoms."

In other words, stay up to date on your vaginal health and get tested at least once a year for STIs, or more if you think something might be up.

7Age

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"Based on age, if you are close to menopause, vaginal burning may be the sign of  'atrophic vaginitis'," says Dr. Loanzon. "This is thinning of the vaginal tissue due to decreasing estrogen and this may present as vaginal burning after intercourse. This is age related so it's important to see a gynecologist to confirm as there can be various treatments prescribed that may help with this symptom."

Although it's definitely not fun and can be a totally a hassle, vaginal burning after sex is common. It's just all about figuring out where the problem is stemming from, then taking the steps to fix it.