Vulvodynia is pain of the vulva that lasts more than three months.
The vulva is made up of the:
- Labia majora and labia minora
- Vaginal opening
The cause is not known. It may be due to:
- Injury or infection
- A problem with how the body responds to pain
Vulvodynia is more common in women who are 20-40 years of age.
Other factors that may raise your risk are:
- Mood or anxiety disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder
- Sleep problems
The main symptom is pain that lasts more than three months.
You may have:
- Pain with sex or inserting tampons
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. You may also have a pelvic exam. The area may need to be closely checked. This can be done using a colposcope to magnify the area.
Your bodily fluids and tissues may need to be tested. This can be done with:
- A swab of the vaginal area
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. This may mean:
You may be given:
- Topical medicines that are put on the skin, such as corticosteroids, estrogen, or anesthetics
- Antiseizure medicine
Therapy can help strengthen and relax the pelvic muscles. This will ease muscle spasms. A doctor who specializes in pelvic floor issues may be needed.
The following steps can help ease pain:
- Wear 100% cotton underwear.
- Do not douche.
- Use only mild soaps for bathing. Pat the area dry after bathing.
- Use lubrication when having sex.
- Apply cold packs to the area.
- Rinse the area after urination. Pat it dry.
Suggested treatments for vulvodynia include:
- Nerve stimulation
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Kathleen A. Barry, MD
- Review Date: 05/2018 -
- Update Date: 07/26/2018 -