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Vulvodynia - Symptoms & Treatment

Vulvar vestibulitis is a related term, and Vestibulodynia is a related condition of Vulvodynia which is also frequently misdiagnosed.The vulva is the external genital area in women--the area around the opening to the vagina called vulvodynia or chronic vulvar pain. Vulvodynia is more common in white women. It's rare in women of other races. Vulvodynia is a problem most family physicians can expect to encounter. It is a syndrome of unexplained vulvar pain, frequently accompanied by physical disabilities, limitation of daily activities, sexual dysfunction and psychologic distress. NVA was founded by five women with vulvodynia who were committed to finding solutions for all women suffering from chronic vulvar pain. Although it isn't life-threatening, the pain may make you cut back on some of your normal activities. It can also make you upset or depresse. The most common four subtypes are vulvar vestibulitis syndrome, cyclic vulvovaginitis, dysesthetic vulvodynia, and vulvar dermatoses.

Symptoms of Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia is different from itching or vulvar pruritus. Vulvodynia actually precludes itching because the burning and pain cause an intolerance to scratching. It can also make you upset or depressed. It might even cause problems in your relationship with your spouse or partner.The main symptom of vulvodynia is pain in your genital area, which can be characterized by:

  • Stinging
  • Rawness
  • Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Throbbing
  • Soreness
  • burning
  • Itching

Causes of Vulvodynia

The exact cause of vulvodynia isn't known. Some factors that may be involved include:

  • Frequent yeast infections
  • Frequent use of antibiotic medicines
  • Chemical irritation of the external genitals (from soaps or detergents in clothing)
  • Rashes on the genital area
  • Previous laser treatments or surgery on the external genitals
  • Past or present genital warts
  • Nerve irritation or muscle spasms in the pelvic area.
  • Injury to or irritation of the nerves surrounding your vulvar region
  • Past vaginal infections
  • Allergies or a localized hypersensitivity of the skin
  • Muscle spasms.

Treatment of Vulvodynia

Some of treatment tips are generally used

  • Try to avoid using soap in the genital area. Just wash with water. Don't use creams, petroleum jelly, bubble baths, bath oils or feminine deodorant sprays. Be careful not to let shampoo drip on the genital area when showering or bathing.
  • Wash your genital area frequently with plain water to wash away any vaginal secretions that may cause irritation. Rinse with clear water from a squeeze bottle after urinating.
  • Wear only all-cotton underwear and loose clothing. Avoid wearing pantyhose.
  • Use only white, unbleached toilet tissue and 100% cotton sanitary products (tampons and pads).
  • Report any increased discharge and irritation to your doctor so that yeast and bacterial infections can be treated right away.
  • Try to avoid using contraceptive devices and contraceptive creams that might irritate your genital area.
  • Wash new underwear before wearing. Always rinse underwear thoroughly after washing to remove soap residue.
  • Don't wear tight-fitting clothing or jeans. Don't sit around in a wet swimsuit for a long time.
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