Vulvodynia is soreness or discomfort in the vulva (the area surrounding the outside of the vagina) that lasts three months or longer and is not caused by other skin or gynecological conditions. Burning, stinging, inflammation, or rawness of the region are common symptoms of vulvodynia. A burning sensation is the most prevalent complaint and how do you know if u have Vulvodynia or What does Vulvodynia look like.
Some women get vulval soreness throughout their entire vulvar area (generalized pain). Others have localized pain in one area of the vulva, such as the vestibule or clitoris. Symptoms may be persistent or intermittent. Pain can be triggered by sexual or nonsexual contact (e.g., inserting a tampon, performing a pelvic exam, or wearing tight-fitting pants), unsolicited (spontaneous), or a combination of the two (provoked and unprovoked).
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Types Of Vulvodynia
Vulvodynia is categorized into two kinds:
- Generalized vulvodynia—refers to vulvar pain that is generalized and unprovoked.
- Vestibulodynia, formerly known as vulvar vestibulitis, this condition causes pain when pressure or touch is applied to the area around the vaginal opening (the vestibule) In this instance, sexual activity, tampon insertion, or gynaecological exams, as well as wearing tight-fitting clothes or even sitting, may induce persistent vulvar pain.
Around 15% of women will experience persistent vulvar pain at some point in their life, according to estimates. Vulvodynia is still poorly understood and frequently misdiagnosed.
Many women experience inexplicable vulvar pain for months, if not years, before receiving an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan.
According to a Harvard research financed by the National Institutes of Health, 60 percent of women with the illness consult at least three health care experts in search of a diagnosis, with 40% remaining unidentified. The study underlines the need of women persevering in their quest for a correct diagnosis so that they can get proper therapy.
Vulvodynia can affect women of any age, however it is most common in women between the ages of 18 and 25. Although it was originally thought that vulvodynia only affected Caucasian women, current research has revealed that Hispanic and African American women are equally susceptible to the illness.
Risk Factors and Causes
The question “What causes vulvodynia?” has no clear solution. Infection, the human papillomavirus (HPV) or other sexually transmitted illnesses, cancer, or systemic neurologic problems are not known to be the cause. It can only be diagnosed if other reasons of vulvar discomfort have been ruled out, such as infection, dermatitis, or atrophy, or if the pain persists despite treatment for any detected illnesses.
A basic kind of vulvodynia is when using tampons causes difficulty or pain. According to research, the following factors may lead to vulvodynia:
- Irritation or injury to the pelvic nerves
- spasms or a lack of strength in the muscles that support the pelvic floor
- abnormal responses of vulva cells to environmental stimuli, such as infection or injury
- vulvar tissue with altered hormone receptor expression
- increased vulvar nerve fiber density or vulvar nerve fiber sensitization
- genetic factors, including susceptibility to inflammation
- recurrent yeast infections
- external vaginal surgery or prior laser treatments
Impact on Quality of Life
Vulvodynia can be physically, sexually, and psychologically distressing. Vulvodynia affects women in a variety of ways, including their ability to exercise, be intimate, and participate in other daily activities. In some women, vulvar pain can be triggered by simply sitting for long periods of time.
According to the National Vulvodynia Association, an NIH-funded study conducted at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and reported by them:According to the National Vulvodynia Association, an NIH-funded study conducted at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and reported by them:
- Vulvodynia causes 75% of women to feel “out of control” of their bodies.
- Sixty percent believe their condition makes it difficult to enjoy life.
Because of the pain, over two-thirds of women with vulvodynia (60 percent) are unable to engage in sexual activity. The mere thought of vulvar pain can cause anxiety and cause many women to forgo sexual activity.
Refraining from sex has an impact on a woman’s self-esteem, and the repeated episodes of discomfort combined with the expectation of pain can cause vaginal spasms (vaginismus), making vaginal penetration even more difficult.
What does Vulvodynia look like is the most asked question by women. Vulvodynia is a poorly known pain syndrome that, like many others, is difficult to diagnose. Other causes of vulvar pain, such as infections, skin problems, or neurologic abnormalities, are checked and ruled out before vulvodynia is identified.
One or more of the following symptoms in the vulvar area are frequently reported by women with vulvodynia:
- burning (most common symptom)
Your health care provider will begin by analyzing your medical history in order to make a diagnosis. He or she will inquire about your symptoms, any therapies you’ve tried, your menstrual cycle, feminine hygiene, sexual history, previous medical problems or operations, and any drugs you’re taking (including over-the-counter medicines).
If you show signs of vulvodynia, Doctors assess it by completing a physical examination and questioning you about the kind, frequency, and start of your symptoms. Doctors will also inquire about your general health, medical history, sexual history, and other relevant conditions, such as allergies.
Vulvodynia can be caused by a variety of factors. Allergies, infections, hormonal changes, nerve injury, and muscle spasms are among them. Vulvodynia can have no recognised cause in some circumstances.
Your treatment will be determined by the source of your suffering. If doctors feel allergies are to blame for your symptoms, they could suggest allergy treatments like avoiding allergens or altering soap or hygiene products.
If there is no recognised cause for your problem, doctors may suggest therapies, lifestyle modifications, or self-help activities to alleviate your symptoms.