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What is vulvodynia?

What is vulvodynia?

The vulvodynia definition is described as follows: The chronic pain and discomfort around the vaginal opening known as the ‘vulva’ lasts for a period longer than three months.

The sensation of burning, itching, stinging, and rawness caused by vulvodynia can negatively impact the woman’s life. The irritation and pain can become excruciating over time if not treated.

What causes vulvodynia remains unclear to the health experts so far; however, there are certain contributing factors which can lead to this condition:

  • Hormonal imbalances in the body 
  • Injury to the nerves surrounding the region of the vulva 
  • Vaginal infections
  • Muscle spasm in the pelvic floor
  • Allergies or sensitive skin 

Suppose the condition remains untreated for a long time. In that case, it might cause physical, mental, and emotional discomfort, including anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, vaginismus – vaginal muscle spasms due to the fear of having sex, relationship issues, sleep disturbances, and excessive pain and irritation in the vulva region. 

What are the symptoms of vulvodynia?

Some of the commonly recorded vulvodynia symptoms observed in the vulva region include 

  • Rawness
  • Stinging 
  • Soreness 
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Throbbing
  • Painful intercourse 

The pain might be restricted to a centralized region of the vulva or spread to the entire area surrounding the vulva.

The vulva tissue will begin to appear sore and slightly inflamed as well. If one experiences any of these symptoms, you should immediately consult your gynecologist and seek medical attention. 

Vulvodynia treatment 

After a successful cotton swab test and pelvic exam, the doctor will diagnose whether or not you are suffering from vulvodynia.

The vulvodynia treatment options are always used in combination to relieve the symptoms, and no one treatment is decided as the primary course of treatment, as it differs from person to person based on the severity and symptoms.

Some of the available treatment options include 

  • Anticonvulsants, steroids, and tricyclic antidepressants are known to relieve chronic pain, while antihistamine medications lessen the itching.
  • For temporary symptom relief, lidocaine ointment, a vulvodynia treatment cream, can be used 30 minutes before the sexual intercourse to relieve the pain and discomfort. Such local anesthetics are used for vulvodynia pain relief.
  • Biofeedback therapy and pelvic floor therapy are also used as an effective treatment option which teaches how to control the pelvic muscles of your body and how one should respond to the symptoms of vulvodynia. 
  • Certain local nerve block injections are often used to treat vulvodynia, especially for those women who suffer from long-standing vulva pain. No other treatment option has turned out to be beneficial for them. 
  • If a woman suffers from localized vulvodynia or vestibulodynia, surgery is considered the treatment for vulvodynia’s complete cure. The affected tissue is removed via surgery which permanently relieves the pain. 

Natural ways to cure and avoid vulvodynia

Bladder and bowel pressure is a known reason for what causes vulvodynia to flare up. Hence, one should pee regularly and clean the vagina regularly with water gently.

Avoid exercises that put too much pressure on the vulva and prevent yourself from using deodorant pads and tampons.