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What is vulvodynia?
Vulvodynia is condition which involves pain or discomfort of the vulva, or external genital organs, without a specific cause. Symptoms may occur in either a single location or multiple areas, and women of all ages may experience vulvodynia. Though researchers are still trying to determine possible causes of vulvodynia, two main subtypes have been identified: generalized vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis syndrome.
At times, the vulva tissues may appear slightly swollen and inflamed, but most often the area will appear normal making diagnosis more difficult. Where symptoms are located and how long they last can play a role in diagnosis, as can ruling out other conditions. With generalized vulvodynia, pain and symptoms can occur in multiple areas, either periodically or constantly. For vulvar vestibulitis syndrome, pain occurs in the vestibule area, or entrance of the vagina, and tends to occur with touch or pressure, such as during intercourse.
Symptoms of vulvodynia include burning, stinging, itching, and throbbing. The area may also feel sore and raw. Volvodynia may also cause painful intercourse
and can make activities such as sitting or riding a bicycle more difficult.
There are a number of different treatment options depending on symptoms, and you may need to try a combination of treatments. Choices include topical or oral medications, physical therapy, nerve blocks, biofeedback, and more. You may also want to consider alternative medicine options, as well as dietary and lifestyle changes. Following some simple do's and don'ts for vulvodynia
, like avoiding tight clothing, pantyhose, and scented vaginal products, could help minimize some symptoms. For some localized vulvodynia, surgery to remove the affected skin may be helpful.
Besides working with your gynecologist, you may want to consider these specialists: urogynecologist, neurologist, dermatologist, pain management specialist, and pelvic floor physical therapist. Because this type of pain can affect intimacy and chronic pain can cause emotional and mental stress, you may also want to consider counseling with a psychologist or therapist.
Keeping a detailed symptom diary
can help you share your symptoms with your medical team so you can work together to find a solution. As hormonal changes could be a trigger for vulvodynia, you should talk to your doctor if you are experiencing hormonal imbalance symptoms
or menopause symptoms
. You should also avoid activities and irritants which seem to worsen your symptoms.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.
07-22-2015 - 12:26 AM
SHARING IS CARING
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