Many women experience vaginal burning which usually has benign causes. But can any kind of cancer cause a burning sensation in the vagina?
The answer is yes.
This in no way means you should panic if you one day notice that your vaginal area is burning or stinging.
However, you should take note of the following information.
Just where is the burning?
What you may perceive as an issue with the vagina might actually be coming from elsewhere.
“I would think that vulvar burning would be more common, and it would be due to vulvar cancer, usually from human papilloma virus,” says Dr. Kimberly Langdon, MD, OBGYN, medical advisor at Medzino Health.
Vulvar cancer is rare, with about 6,200 diagnosed cases in the U.S. every year.
It can affect any age, but it’s most common in postmenopausal women.
It’s more likely to cause itching, pain or tenderness – but these may be perceived as burning. Besides HPV, smoking is also a risk factor.
“The vagina can get cancer, but the nerve distribution is spread out, and the nerve density is less,” says Dr. Langdon.
“Rarely do people have vaginal pain even during childbirth. The pain is from the uterus, cervix dilating, and then when the head crowns on its way out, it triggers pain in the perineum/vulvar region.
“Burning in the vagina is likely due to lack of estrogen in the menopause, which is the most common age for either vulvar or vaginal pain.
“With that said, any deeply penetrating cancer of the vagina could cause burning or pain.”
Symptoms of Vaginal Cancer
About 6,200 cases per year are diagnosed in the U.S.
• Unexplained vaginal bleeding; may occur after intercourse.
• Thin vaginal discharge
• Lump in the vagina
• Pain with urination
• Frequent urination – due to urge, not volume
Dr. Langdon, who is now retired from clinical practice, has delivered over 2,000 babies. Besides obstetrics, she specialized in gynecologic situations such as menstrual disorders, vaginitis, menopause, contraception, pelvic pain and minimally-invasive surgeries.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.