If Your Vulva Is Tingling, This Might Be Why

Photographed by Ashley Armitage.
Depending on the situation, your vulva can sometimes feel wet, itchy, burning, or swollen. Sometimes a new feeling in your vulva is the result of a health condition. For example, an itchy vulva is a common symptom of a yeast infection. Other times, the change is simply the natural order of things. For instance, your vagina gets wet when you’re turned on, and your vaginal discharge varies throughout your menstrual cycle — nothing to worry about. But what about a tingling feeling? What does that mean?
First, any time you're worried or curious about how your vagina feels, it’s a good idea to visit your GP to get things checked out. “Any new lumps, bumps, discomfort, itch, change of colour, size or symmetry should be reported to a GP or gynaecologist,” Dr. Adeola Olaitan, UCLH consultant gynaecologist and medical adviser to The Eve Appeal, previously told Refinery29. That said, here are some potential reasons your vagina might feel tingly.

You’re turned on

When you’re aroused, blood rushes to your vulva. You begin to get wet, and your genitals swell a little. For some people, this arousal feels like a tingling sensation. For others, it's more like throbbing. Some people might experience both. This should feel good — enjoy it!

You’re about to have an orgasm (or you’re having an orgasm, or you just had an orgasm)

Similarly, some people report feeling a tingling sensation just before, just after, or during an orgasm. While uncommon, this feeling isn’t anything to worry about. However, if the tingling feels painful or numb, it might indicate an underlying health condition.

You have a yeast infection

Along with itching or burning and a cottage cheese-like discharge, some people experience a tingling sensation during a yeast infection. This tingling should go away as you begin treatment.

You have a UTI

Common UTI symptoms include a burning feeling while peeing, the frequent urge to urinate, and cloudy-looking urine. Some people also report feeling a tingling sensation, particularly during urination. 

You’re about to have a herpes outbreak

Some people with genital herpes report experiencing a tingling feeling in their legs, hips, butt, or genitals just before an outbreak. If your herpes treatment includes episodic therapy (meaning you treat each outbreak as it occurs, instead of taking a daily medication), this symptom may indicate it’s time to start taking your antiviral medication. This medication may help lessen your symptoms or even prevent the outbreak, and speed up healing.

You’re pregnant

During pregnancy, your body increases production of a hormone called relaxin. This hormone allows your ligaments to loosen, and your nerves may become pinched, which can lead to a tingling feeling. Additionally, during pregnancy, your growing uterus might put pressure on your nerves. 

You went to spin class

If your vulva feels numb or tingly after riding a bike (or during spin class), you’re experiencing something called “saddle numbness.” While uncomfortable, this is simply a result of the extra pressure on your vulva. You may want to try a different type of bike seat, change your form, or shorten your time in the saddle.

You have another health condition 

A tingling vulva is sometimes a symptom of some other conditions, including multiple sclerosis, vulvar cancer, persistent genital arousal disorder, and restless genital syndrome. In these cases, the tingling feeling is accompanied by other sensations, such as pain and numbness.

You’re using a tingling lube

Finally, some lubes are designed to cause a tingling sensation. They may be labelled as “tingling,” or they may get another label like “warming,” “cooling,” or “intense.” 

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