Pregnancy vaginal pain is a large concept, covering a variety of disorders at the most intimate part of a woman’s body. While some women experience such pain from the second trimester, others may have it during the full pregnancy period.
Vaginal pain is unpleasant, embarrassing, and can have a negative impact on a pregnant woman’s daily life. Doctors often take note of complaints, burning, and pain-related discharges that occur in this area.
In general, vaginal pain during pregnancy is not a sign of complication. However, severe and persistent pain can lead to an underlying health condition that requires medical assistance. So it is important to know what causes such pain and how to relieve it.
What causes vaginal pain during pregnancy?
Vaginal pain is more common during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimester. Depending on intensity and severity, this pain may have different causes:
Early in pregnancy, when the baby begins to develop in the womb, mild vaginal pain may be associated with increased uterus size. During this time, uterus dilation can lead to lower abdominal pain, uterine contractions, and other mild discomforts, mostly on the intestinal tract.
Around the middle of pregnancy, almost all pregnant women experience vaginal pain due to the growing tissue. Uterus growth also puts extra pressure on the pelvic organs and the surrounding muscles, causing unusual vaginal pain. As pregnancy progresses, the pain always disappears.
Just before childbirth, women also experience vaginal pain. At this stage, the uterus is already in preparation for delivery, which is accompanied by cervical dilatation, and this can be very painful.
Vaginal pain during pregnancy may be related to ligaments that hold the uterus inside the vagina. As the uterus grows in size, ligaments also stretch, causing quite severe and sharp pain.
This can cause soreness even in the lips, and the pain may worsen further when the woman makes a sudden movement, sneezes or coughs. However, such discomfort last for a limited period of time and, in a normal pregnancy, it quickly subsides without further intervention.
If during pregnancy, the vagina is slightly painful and the sensations are more noticeable, associated with dryness of the external genitalia, then no worries – nothing bad will happen in this case.
Such reactions are part of a normal physiological process caused by the global hormonal change in the woman’s body, as well as by the evolution of the pregnancy itself. Sensitive vaginal pain can increase sexual desire, which in turn can lead to painful sexual intercourse.
Vaginal dryness has the following symptoms:
- Pain when urinating
- Burning sensation at the vaginal entry area
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Bad smell due to acidity changes and vaginal flora imbalance
Increased blood flow
Increased blood flow around the vagina is another common cause of vaginal pain during pregnancy. When more blood flows into the uterus, it causes pressure and pain in and around the vagina.
During pregnancy, hormonal factors could increase blood flow up to three times, which can lead to heaviness sensations, tightness, swelling, and tenderness on the vagina and its surrounding tissue, causing pain at the slightest touch.
Progressive fetus growth and increased pressure are one of the common reasons for severe pain in a woman’s vagina during pregnancy. The growing fetus puts extra pressure on the pelvic ligaments and nerves, but women may very likely feel it as located in the vagina.
When stretched, the pelvic nerve will cause stabbing pain. This can occur around the second trimester, when women experience pressure from their babies in the pelvic area, causing unbearable pelvic nerve discomfort.
Even in the last trimester, when a pregnant woman reaches her due date and the fetus declines, pain and pressure can also cause vaginal pain. Only a few women suffer for a couple of minutes and seconds, while for some sharp complaints, vaginal pain may last longer.
urinary tract Infection
Pain in the vagina can have a different origin. Severe pain with heavy discharge, unpleasant smell, and unbearable itching in the external genital organs. This may indicate a urinary tract infection in development.
Women’s protective immunity decreased during pregnancy and the acidity level of the vagina changes. Pregnant women are more likely to develop mycosis or fungal candida, causing such infection.
In this case, expectant mothers experience discomfort during or immediately after sexual intercourse, itching and burning in the external genital organs, abnormal secretions, sometimes with a smell, as well as difficulty when urinating.
When to seek medical help?
Vaginal pain is one of the common complaints of pregnancy. When the pain is mild, irregular and disappears quickly, it is due to natural changes induced by pregnancy that should not cause anxiety.
However, it should not be too unpleasant, severe and consistent, itchy or burn. This could then be a sign of an underlying health condition, for which it is preferable to consult without delay.
Pregnant women with vaginal pains should not panic, and health experts recommend that the following factors should be identified:
- Pain intensity
- Pain duration
- Health condition frequency
Vaginal discharge with pain during pregnancy can indicate infection and requires urgent diagnosis and treatment. Any delay in consultation and treatment in such delicate conditions can lead to serious complications for the expectant mother and her unborn baby.
Bladder inflammation can also cause sharp vaginal pain. In such cases, it is important to quickly carry out an examination and follow the prescribed treatment.
You should contact a medical center immediately in case of severe vaginal pain associated with other symptoms such as:
- Painful pulling sensations in the abdomen, neck, and back area.
- Vaginal pain in constant increase
Vaginal pain and bleeding combination may be a sign of spontaneous miscarriage or indicate an ectopic pregnancy in the early stages. Closer to childbirth, this may indicate premature placental abruption and premature delivery.
Tips to prevent vaginal pain during pregnancy
The best way to prevent vaginal pain is to keep the vaginal flora in balance. When this flora is stable, fungi and bacteria are less likely to affect its balance.
- Avoid using soap or aggressive emulsions when cleansing, or use a mild, soap-free product.
- Regularly replace your pad, towel, and underwear. Avoid using perfumed underpants and choose breathable underwear.
- Tight pants are not recommended because of friction-related complaints.
- Avoid friction and excessive vaginal pressure.
Vaginal pain due to normal changes during pregnancy:
- Avoid lifting or pushing heavy objects
- Be sure to maintain a good posture
- Sleep with a pillow between your legs
- Get plenty of rest with your back well supported
- A warm bath can help to relax ligaments and muscles and reduce discomfort.
- Use a maternity belt support
- Try acupuncture
Pregnancy is a long process and each pregnant woman will have to deal with different discomforts: morning sickness, back pain, lower abdominal pain, as well as other postures shifts. And the mother’s vaginal area is not an exception.
Remember, you can’t tolerate vaginal pain during pregnancy, avoid self-treatment, as it can cause serious damage. Trust your doctor, only a specialist will make the correct diagnosis and prescribe safe and effective treatment.