Conditions

Understanding Vulvodynia

Print
Share
Save

If you have chronic pain of the vulva, the female genital organs, and it lasts for 3 months or more with no clinical cause, you will be diagnosed with Vulvodynia. It is a very painful condition that feels like a burning, stinging and raw feeling pain in the vaginal opening.

There are four types of Vulvodynia:

Generalized:

This can start suddenly causing pain and itching and can last for months or even years.

Localized:

It is pain that is around the folds of the vagina in which the pain can start suddenly and leave suddenly.

Cyclic:

The pain usually starts close to your menstrual cycle and that is when it will be worse.

Vestibulodynia:

The pain occurs in the vestibule which is the part of your vulva around the opening of your vagina.

Causes:

Yeast infection

Bacterial infection

STD such as Chlamydia or Gonorrhea

A virus most likely from an STD

Parasites like lice, rabies or pinworms causing inflammation

Chemical allergies to scented soaps, perfumes, scented tampons or pads and feminine hygiene spray

Chronic pain from fibromyalgia or IBS

Using tampons

Symptoms:

Inflammation of the vulva

Painful intercourse

Burning, itching throbbing pain

Feeling like its raw in the vaginal opening

Diagnosis

Your Doctor will review your medical history and will likely perform a internal pelvic exam.

You may have to have blood or urine tests done and also your Doctor may take a sample of the cells from your vagina to test for a yeast or bacterial infection. Having a U/S or CT Scan will give your Doctor a clearer picture of what is going on.

Treatment:

Estrogen Hormone cream

Pain medications

Antidepressants

Acupuncture

Massage therapy

Physical therapy to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles

Antibiotics

Steroids

Biofeedback

Nerve blocks

Using a cold compress for swelling or tenderness in the vaginal opening

Things to Avoid:

Don't wear tight pantyhose or nylon underwear, you should always wear 100% cotton underwear to stop any sweating in the vaginal area.

Avoid using tampons and pads that are scented.

Don't use any douches as they will make the vaginal area more sensitive.

It is best to just use plain water when washing the vulva area.

Having Vulvodynia can cause emotional stress because it maybe too painful to have intercourse, causing some women to feel guilty. You and your partner should talk openly about your Vulvodynia and how it affects both of you. You may also feel like you have no control over your life as intercourse and exercise is painful Join support groups to learn better coping skills, you should not feel guilty about your diagnosis so try and find resources that will help you both better understand Vulvodynia.

Did you find this helpful?