What is Vulvodynia?
Vulvodynia is a condition where different areas of the vulva experience chronic, burning pain either constantly or with touch. This pain can be either localized to one area or throughout (although in different areas at different times) and regularly occurs over months or years. It’s unknown what exactly causes vulvodynia, and it has only recently been recognized as a real condition. However, it’s thought that it can be caused by nerve complications, hypersensitivity to infections or irritation, or muscle spasms.
Why is Vulvodynia Important?
Because of the chronic pain and irritation, vulvodynia can have a substantial impact on a woman’s quality of life. If you’ve experienced vulvodynia, then it’s likely that you avoid sitting for long periods of time, having sexual intercourse, or wearing certain irritating materials. These factors can severely limit your lifestyle on top of managing chronic pain and discomfort. For this reason, it’s important to know about vulvodynia and what you can do about it.
How Can My Gynecologist Help?
If you’ve been experiencing vulvodynia, then it’s important to speak with your gynecologist about your symptoms. It can be helpful for the diagnosis process to keep note of different things you’ve tried in order to manage pain so that your gynecologist can assess the possible causes. Treatment for vulvodynia usually includes avoiding irritants like certain soaps, fabrics, menstrual products, and bathing habits. Additionally, avoid putting pressure on the vulva through activities like prolonged sitting or riding a bike. Finally, your gynecologist can recommend ways to manage pain through heat or cold pack therapies or through prescribed medications to block nerve signals or pain for the long-term.
Schedule an Appointment
Vulvodynia can be extremely difficult to live with, so it’s important to remember that your gynecologist can help. To meet with our expert team about the possible causes and treatment options, contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can endometriosis cause vulvodynia?
Many patients who have endometriosis also experience vulvodynia. However, it is unclear whether endometriosis causes vulvodynia, if the two issues have a common cause, or other factors cause them to coincide. Vulvodynia should typically be treated by a specialist; the gynecologists at Carnegie Women’s Health do not specialize in treating vulvodynia.
Can IBS cause vulvodynia?
While IBS may not be the cause of vulvodynia, patients will frequently have both conditions.