A lot of people will tell you that even when sex is bad, it is still good. But there are those instances when it is not just bad, but it is just downright painful. This is a condition that a lot of women seem to suffer from and it is called Vulvodynia. Studies show that one in every six women is likely to experience this chronic pain in their vulva at some point. This can be a condition that can be quite emotionally debilitating which is why a deeper look into what it is and what causes it is indeed essential.
Vulvodynia is a condition was a woman has this unexplained discomfort or pain around the vulva area. It is usually one that will strike around the ages 18 to 25 though it can affect women of all ages too, and in most cases, can last for three months or even more.
Many women that have experienced it described it to be very painful. Most have described feeling a burning sensation in the vulva. There is also a stinging pain, and that is despite the vulva area not showing any signs of infection or any skin condition at all. Sex and even just the slightest touch can cause a pain surge, even just doing something such as changing a tampon can be so painful. For women that suffer from such a condition in the long term, this would often mean that sex will have to be permanently off the table.
Signs To Be Aware Of:
Somebody who is suffering from the condition will notice a persistent pain around the vaginal area. The curious thing about it is that the vulva which is the skin surrounding it, will just appear normal. Unlike those STIs where there will likely be swelling and sores or lumps, this condition does to sow any physical signs at all.
There is different kinds of pains that a woman will experience as a result of the condition.
- It can be limited to just part of the vulva such as in the care of the opening of the vagina.
- It can be a stinging, sore, or burning sensation.
- It can be made worse when the woman is sitting down.
- It is constantly there too and to never fades. It is always just in the background.
- It is usually triggered by touch such as during those times you are putting a tampon on or during sexual intercourse.
- There are those that suffer a more widespread pain too such as those affecting the thigh areas and even the buttocks.
The discomfort can come and then go without any warning too. There are those that experience the pain quickly and then feel it go away soon too. A lot of doctors that it is often a condition that is a little hard to diagnose because there are usually many other conditions that may cause vulvar pain.
Complications Resulting From The Condition
One of the most common issues that a woman who suffers from such a condition has to deal with often has something to do with her relationships. Considering how sex is going to be painful, it can truly strain the relationship between couples. There are studies that show women who suffer from the condition can still experience a healthy pregnancy. In fact, there are those that experience a decrease in the pain levels while being pregnant. Most of the time though, they have to opt for a Caesarean delivery.
Causes And Diagnosis:
Some reasons may cause pain in the vulva. For instance, there are neurological problems, infections, and even inflammatory conditions. It may also be due to neoplasm such as the squamous cell carcinoma.
It should be noted that it could be related to any underlying condition. In fact, its actual cause is unknown. It is not also caused by a disease that is sexually transmitted. It is not caused by a skin disease, an infection, or cancer as well. But some factors will likely increase the risks of a woman experiencing the condition.
- Genetics can play a role.
- The high-density presence of pain sensing fiber of nerve around the vulva.
- Irritation or damage to the nerves found in the vulvar region.
- Instability of the pelvic muscles or those instances when they are weak.
- Hormonal changes can trigger the condition.
- Other factors that might increase a woman’s susceptibility to the disease such as rashes on the genitals, chemical irritation along the external genitalia, STIs, yeast infections that happen too frequently, surgery on the external genitalia, and muscle spasms, injury and nerve irritation along the pelvic area.
There are some ways on how the condition can be diagnosed. There is usually a pelvic exam to check for any changes in the skin as well as to get the pain assessed.
Cotton swab tests are also done to make sure that the areas where the pain is felt can be delineated. It is also a way for the doctor to categorize how severe the pain is. The swab is often pressed in different areas too while asking the patient for the pain level to be rated.
The tests are also carried out to make sure that other possible causes for the pain will be eliminated such as blood testing to assess the progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. The physician may also need to do a culture for yeast and bacteria. A biopsy may also be recommended by the doctor too.
How to Treat it:
The treatment of the condition is designed to alleviate its symptoms. Considering how the cause is often unknown, it is usually hard to pinpoint an actual solution, and this would mean that there are more trial and error involved. It is important to lay off any irritants though such as soaps and perfumes. Changing menstrual products may help as well such as going for cotton-based ones instead of those made from synthetic. Some have also found that fresh gel pack can offer short-term and immediate relief. Also, anticonvulsants, SNRIs, as well as antidepressants may be used to treat the problem too.