Symptoms of vaginal cancer

The most common symptom of vaginal cancer is vaginal bleeding. Bleeding often occurs during or after sexual intercourse and may be accompanied by pain.

If you still have regular periods (you are pre-menopausal), the bleeding may happen in between your normal periods. You may also notice that your period is much heavier than usual. Read more about periods.

Some women with vaginal cancer also experience vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse.

Less common symptoms of vaginal cancer include:

  • pain when urinating (dysuria)
  • a sudden, urgent need to urinate
  • blood in your urine
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • pelvic pain
  • smelly or bloody vaginal discharge
  • an itch in your vagina
  • a lump in your vagina

When to see your GP

It’s important to see your GP if:

  • You experience vaginal bleeding and you have already had the menopause.
  • Your usual pattern of periods has changed, such as having irregular or heavier periods than usual.
  • You have persistent, abnormal vaginal bleeding, particularly persistent bleeding that is associated with sexual intercourse.
  • You have abnormal vaginal discharge.
  • You experience problems with urination, such as pain when urinating.

While it is highly unlikely that these symptoms are due to vaginal cancer, they still need to be investigated by your GP.

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