Vulvodynia - Health Center
By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST
Vulvodynia – Basic Overview
Vulvodynia is a chronic condition around the vaginal or the vulvar region. There is no identifiable cause for this condition. This pain is often accompanied with a burning or irritating sensation which can make it uncomfortable for the affected person to sit for long durations of time. Often, this condition tends to go on for months or years.
Treatment options are readily available in order to lessen the pain and discomfort which is associated with the condition. If a person has been diagnosed with Vulvodynia, it is important to seek immediate medical care and treatment.
Causes of Vulvodynia:
The exact cause of Vulvodynia is unknown. However, researchers have been able to list out certain contributing factors to the condition:
- Injury or irritation of the nerves around the vulvar region
- Vaginal infections
- Allergies or hyper sensitive skin
- Changes in the hormonal levels
Often, it has been found that women having a history of past recurrent vaginitis or vaginal yeast infections are more prone towards developing the disease as compared to their counterparts. Vulvodynia is not a sexually transmitted disease and is not a sign of cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Vulvodynia:
Pain in the genital area is one of the major signs of Vulvodynia. However, apart from that, certain other signs and symptoms may be evident as well. They are as follows:
- Soreness and stinging sensation
- Pain during sexual intercourse (Dyspareunia)
- Itching sensation
The pain associated with Vulvodynia can either be constant or occasional. In many cases, the pain lasts for many months or years at a stretch. The pain can either be felt in the entire vulvar area or could be localized to one certain point around the opening of the vagina. Often, the vulvar tissue is inflamed or swollen in Vulvodynia.
If you have been experiencing excessive pain around your genital area, it is recommended to check with a doctor regarding the same.
Tests and Diagnosis of Vulvodynia:
Before the diagnosis of the condition, the doctor may ask you certain questions regarding your medical history in order to understand the nature of your condition. Often, the following tests are performed in order to determine the condition:
- Pelvic Exam: During this test, the doctor examines the external genitals of the affected person physically. The area around the vagina is looked for signs of infection. However, in case there are no physical symptoms of the condition, the doctor may collect a sample of the cells from the vagina in order to check for signs of any vaginal infection, such as yeast infection or bacterial infection.
- Cotton Swab Test: In this test, the doctor uses a moistened cotton swab in order to check the genital area for signs of localized pain.
Treatment and Drugs for Vulvodynia:
The treatment for Vulvodynia works on relieving the pain and symptoms of the condition. The following are the most widely used treatment options against the condition:
- Medications: Steroids, Tricyclic Antidepressants and anticonvulsants are best used in order to reduce the chronic pain associated with the condition.
- Anaesthetics: Local anaesthetics such as Lidocaine ointment is used in order to relive the symptoms. The medication is applied 30 minutes before sexual intercourse in order to relieve the itchiness.
- Nerve Blocks: Women suffering from long standing pain which does not respond to any other treatment option are provided with injections of nerve blocks.
- Pelvic Floor Therapy: Many women suffering from Vulvodynia experience tensions of the muscles of the pelvic floor. These muscles are responsible for supporting the uterus, urinary bladder and the bowel movements. Certain exercises are done in order to relax those muscles and the pain which is associated with the same.
- Surgery: In some of the very rare cases, surgery is done in order to remove the affected skin and tissue. This procedure is known as Vestibulectomy.