Everyday activities such as showering, exercise, driving, and sex can become uncomfortable when you have clitoris pain.
This pain might be caused by infection, injury, or an underlying medical condition. In some cases, it can be severe and cause burning, stinging, and throbbing pain.
Fortunately, many causes of clitoris pain are minor and can be treated easily. Read on to learn more.
Clitoris pain, medically known as clitorodynia, is a painful sensation you feel on your clitoris. It can range from mild to severe, and you might experience:
Clitoris pain can be constant, or it might come and go. You might relieve it or aggravate it by certain actions such as exercise, showering, or sexual activity.
There are multiple possible causes of clitoris pain, including:
- underlying conditions
Clitoris pain is not the same thing as clitoris sensitivity. Clitoris pain is a medical condition or injury. Clitoris sensitivity is soreness or discomfort with touch during sexual activity.
Generally, the best remedy for clitoris sensitivity is to adjust your methods of sexual stimulation. Techniques such as adding lubrication and building sexual activity slowly and gently can relieve clitoris sensitivity.
On the other hand, you can feel clitoris pain even when there is no direct stimulation to your clitoris. Medical treatment is often needed.
It’s common to have other symptoms along with clitoris pain. The other symptoms you have can sometimes indicate what might be causing your clitoris pain.
For example, when clitoris pain is caused by an injury, irritation, or infection in your vulvar region, it’s common to also have these symptoms throughout your vulva:
- raw sensation
When clitoris pain is caused by an infection in another body system or an underlying condition, it’s common to also experience symptoms such as:
- pain during sexual activity
- rashes on multiple parts of your body
- trouble urinating
- bloody or pink urine
- numbness or tingling throughout your body
- widespread body pain
Rarely, clitoris pain can be a sign of an emergency medical condition. It’s important to seek urgent care and call 911 if you have clitoris pain along with any of these symptoms:
- fever over 101°F (38°C)
- rapid heart rate
- severe stomach, lower back, or pelvic pain
There are multiple causes of clitoris pain. Some causes might be easy for you to remedy at home. Other causes will require medical treatment. Some common causes are detailed below.
Irritation from soaps and other products
Dyes and chemicals found in soaps, detergents, and other hygiene products can sometimes irritate your clitoris and vulvar region. This might lead to rashes, inflammation, and pain.
In this case, you might be able to relieve your pain by figuring out which product is irritating your clitoris and no longer using it.
Infections can lead to clitoris pain. The most common infections associated with clitoris pain are:
- Yeast infections. Yeast infections can also cause:
- vaginal discharge
- burning sensation during urination and sexual activity
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). There are multiple STIs that can lead to clitoris pain, including:
- Bacterial vaginosis (BV). This common infection causes strong-smelling vaginal discharge and can also lead to clitoris pain.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs are very common and cause symptoms such as burning or painful urination and a painful vulvar region.
Clitoral adhesions and lichen sclerosus
These two skin conditions can lead to clitoral pain. Clitoral adhesions are small buildups of skin that can grow on your clitoris. They can scratch the surface of your clitoris, resulting in pain.
Lichen sclerosus is a skin condition that can affect your vaginal entrance and lead to:
This can cause pain throughout your vulvar region, including your clitoris.
Injury to your vulvar region from sexual abuse can result in clitoris pain. Even when your immediate injuries have healed, clitoris pain can still be present.
Sometimes, the trauma and psychological effects of sexual abuse can lead to lasting pain throughout your vulvar area, especially during sexual activity of any kind.
Underlying conditions that affect your nervous system
Conditions that impact your nervous system can result in damage to the nerves in your vulvar region. This can cause clitoris pain.
Diabetes is commonly associated with this kind of nervous system disruption. However, many other conditions could lead to clitoris pain, including:
Less common causes
Sometimes, clitoris pain has a less common underlying cause. This might include:
- Previous surgery. Surgery anywhere in your vulvar or pelvic area can cause clitoral pain.
- Vaginal childbirth. Sometimes, tearing during vaginal childbirth can lead to clitoris pain.
- Vulvodynia. Vulvodynia is chronic vaginal itching, pain, or burning that is not linked to any cause or condition.
- Vaginal cancer. Vaginal cancer is a rare type of cancer. Pain in your vulvar area, including clitoris pain, can sometimes be a symptom of vaginal cancer.
The first step in relieving your clitoris pain is getting a diagnosis. A medical professional will need to gather detailed information to help determine the cause of your pain. They’ll ask you questions about your:
- other symptoms
- sexual history
- overall health
Your doctor will also examine your vulva and vagina. They will look for any skin conditions or signs of injury. They might ask you to identify any pain or sensation you feel during this examination.
Your doctor will take a culture with a cotton swab to test for infections. You’ll likely have bloodwork done too.
Sometimes, this will be enough to confirm that the cause of your clitoris pain is a rash, infection, or skin condition. But if your doctor does not find any of those causes, they may need to do more testing. They might test your nerve and muscle function to look for underlying medical conditions.
If a medical expert can’t find a cause, your pain might be classified as vulvodynia.
The treatment for your clitoris pain can vary depending on the cause. Options might include:
- Antibiotics. A healthcare professional can treat UTIs, BV, some STIs, and some rashes using antibiotics. Generally, clearing up the infection will resolve your pain.
- Antivirals. Antiviral medications can keep STIs, such as herpes, from flaring up and causing pain.
- Antifungals. A medical professional can use antifungal medications to treat yeast infections and some rashes.
- Pain relievers. Pain-relieving medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce your inflammation and relieve pain. These medications are available over the counter or with a prescription.
- Anticonvulsants. Anticonvulsant medication can help treat your nerve pain.
- Antidepressants. Antidepressants can help treat your nerve pain and chronic pain.
- Pelvic floor physical therapy. Pelvic floor physical therapy is specialized physical therapy that can help strengthen your pelvic muscles and relieve pain throughout your vulvar region.
- Sex therapy and counseling. Sex therapists can help you build a healthy relationship with sex and your own body. This can include working through difficult and sensitive topics such as past sexual abuse.
There are multiple causes of clitoris pain. Because of this, there are several risk factors. These factors are not linked to every possible cause of clitoris pain, but they can increase your overall risk.
Risk factors include:
- sexual activity without using a condom or other barrier method
- sexual activity under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- not managing your hygiene
- a weakened immune system
A medical professional can quickly and easily treat many common causes of clitoris pain. But the exact outlook for you will depend on the cause of your pain and how well your body responds to your treatment plan.
You might need to manage your pain as part of an overall treatment plan for a chronic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis. Your doctor will discuss your outlook and treatment options with you.
If you have clitoris pain, you might experience burning, itching, or a raw sensation. But many causes of clitoris pain can be treated easily. Common causes include reactions to dyes and other irritants, infections, and skin conditions.
An antibiotic or antiviral medication might be able to clear up your infection and relieve your pain. In other cases, an underlying condition such as diabetes might cause nervous system damage that leads to clitoris pain.
A medical expert can help confirm the cause and find the best treatment for you.