What is Vulvodynia?
Vulvodynia is a chronic pain condition that causes burning and irritation in women’s pelvic region, including their labia and clitoris. It often makes sexual intercourse very painful or even impossible. Women who suffer from Vulvodynia describe it as a sharp or burning pain around their vaginal opening. Over-the-counter medications can ease mild cases of Vulvodynia symptoms but may not treat severe cases. Typically, there are no obvious external signs of illness. Your gynecologist may be able to diagnose your Vulvodynia by doing an internal exam or taking a biopsy if your symptoms have persisted for months or longer and don’t respond to over-the-counter treatments.
Causes of Vulvodynia
There are many possible causes of vulvar pain including infections, allergies, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), other chronic diseases and problems with nerve endings. While some treatments address specific causes of vulvar pain, there are no single causes that can be identified in every case. It is generally thought that vulvar pain may arise from a variety of overlapping sources.
Symptoms of Vulvodynia
Here are some of the most common symptoms of vulvar pain. Although each person may experience symptoms differently, there are certain characteristics that tend to be common. Vulvar pain can range from mild to severe. It is often characterized by aching, burning or stabbing sensations in or around your vulva area. Other symptoms can include: Burning and/or stinging during urination, Crawling sensation, Skin tingling or sensitivity, Allergic reactions, etc.
How to talk about it
If you experience Vulvodynia, you’re not alone. Millions of women have experienced painful intercourse at some point in their lives, but many of them are afraid to talk about it. This is due in part to myths surrounding female sexuality and shame around inappropriate topics like sex. Many people still don’t know that Vulvodynia is a real condition; others think it only afflicts older women or those who aren’t sexually active. So, don’t be embarrassed of it.
The first treatment option for Vulvodynia is to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Some women with vulvar pain may find relief from other NSAIDs (such as naproxen), which have fewer side effects than COX-2 inhibitors, or NSAIDs that can be taken directly on or around their genitals.
Even though there is no cure for Vulvodynia, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing it by protecting yourself from STDs and STIs. Every time you have sex with a new partner, make sure to use protection like condoms and dental dams to protect yourself from both vaginal infections (like trichomoniasis) and sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and chlamydia that affect your genitals.
Vulvodynia, or vulvar vestibulitis, is a condition that affects over 10 million women in the US alone. It’s characterized by pain and discomfort that originates from the vulva, which includes the labia majora, labia minora, vaginal opening, and the clitoris. Vulvodynia doesn’t just cause physical pain; it has negative effects on your mental health as well.