Vulvodynia (Vulvar Pain)

What is Vulvodynia?

Vulvodynia is a chronic condition that is defined by vulvar pain that lasts for more than three months. It is often described as burning, itching, stinging, or rawness. This pain can make individuals so uncomfortable that they cannot sit for long periods of time or engage in sexual intercourse. This condition can last for months to years.

The main symptoms of vulvodynia affect the genital area, and include:

What Causes Vulvodynia?

There are many suspected causes of vulvodynia, including injury to the nerves in the area, inflammation, hormonal factors, genetic factors, and musculoskeletal problems. Women who are diagnosed with vulvodynia often suffer from other common pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia, painful bladder syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and temporomandibular disorder.

Vulvodynia Treatment Options

Vulvodynia treatment can take time and finding the treatment that is best for an individual patient is a process of trial and error. Treatment options may include:

Medications

Steroids, anticonvulsants, or tricyclic antidepressants can help to reduce chronic pain. Antihistamines may also be helpful for reducing itching.

Biofeedback Therapy

This form of therapy can help to reduce pain by teaching individuals how to relax their pelvic muscles and control how their body responds to symptoms.

Local Anesthetics

Lidocaine ointment can provide temporary symptom relief. Applying lidocaine 30 minutes before sexual intercourse can also help to reduce discomfort.

A Nerve Block

Women who have experienced long-term pain that does not respond well to other treatments may benefit from local nerve block injections.

Pelvic Floor Therapy

Some women with vulvodynia have tension in the muscles of the pelvic floor. Exercises to relax these muscles can help to relieve uncomfortable symptoms.

Surgery

Women who have localized vulvodynia and have not experienced significant relief from other treatments may benefit from vestibulectomy surgery. This procedure removes tissue in the area where the pain is felt.

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Click a condition below to learn more about our recommended treatment options.

Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness can be a painful or uncomfortable symptom that has many possible causes. It is a common symptom of menopause, due to a drop in estrogen levels reducing the amount of moisture in the vagina.

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Vaginismus (Muscle Spasms)

Vaginismus occurs when the vaginal muscles spasm or squeeze when something is entering it. These contractions can prevent sexual intercourse or make it a painful experience.

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Vulvodynia (Vulvar Pain)

Vulvodynia is chronic pain around the opening of the vagina that lasts for three months or more. There is often no identifiable cause, and symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable.

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Pelvic floor dysfunction

Pelvic floor dysfunction is the inability to correctly relax and coordinate the pelvic floor muscles. This can lead to complications such as a frequent need to use the bathroom, constipation, pain in the lower pack or genitals, and more.

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Clitoral pain

Clitoral pain causes women to experience a painful sensation in the clitoris. It can range from mild to severe and may be caused by a number of factors.

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CONDITIONS

Vaginal Dryness

Vaginismus (Muscle Spasms)

Vulvodynia (Vulvar Pain)

Pelvic floor dysfunction

Clitoral pain

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