Are you experiencing pain and discomfort in the region around your vagina? When it comes to pain in our reproductive areas, many of us might believe that this is automatically tied to our menstrual cycle. While it is clear that the entire reproductive system is connected, the organs are very much different. To this day, many people still believe that the uterus is also the vagina. It’s not! The uterus is where a fertilized egg develops into a baby while the vagina is the entrance to the uterus. Having pain from your uterus cramping is completely different from having pain around your vagina, but if you are experiencing pain around your vagina, there’s a chance you have vulvodynia.
Often called vulvar pain, vulvodynia is the chronic pain around the vaginal opening. Relatively common in the United States, there are just less than a quarter of a million cases diagnosed each year. While it is possible for girls between the ages of 6 and 18 to develop this condition, it is more prevalent in women 19 and older. There are a few different types of vulvodynia that a woman can develop.
In generalized vulvodynia, the pain is constant and spontaneous. Essentially, there is seemingly nothing that causes the pain. In localized vulvodynia, the pain is often triggered by something touching or putting pressure on the region. There are also quite a few symptoms associated with this condition that are not fun. Women often explain a burning sensation as the most common symptom. A woman with vulvodynia might also experience vagina dryness and itching. While generalized vulvodynia seems to happen unplanned, there are a few things that can exacerbate the pain one experiences. This includes sexual intercourse, using tampons, wearing tight pants and even sitting for a long period of time.
As mentioned before, vulvodynia is a chronic disease and unluckily enough for the women who develop this, there is no cure for this condition. While there is no permanent cure, there are a number of ways and steps women can take to help them deal with the pain.
One method is to get pain medication. Sounds easy enough, right? If the pain gets to be too much, all you have to do is contact your doctor for a prescription. In more serious conditions, physicians might require vulvodynia solved through surgery. Some might even try acupuncture to help with the pain.
Another great way to avoid this is to stay away from things that will cause any kind of irritation to the area. If you’re wearing tight clothes, the fabric rubbing against your outer vagina can further exacerbate the condition. While staying away from tight clothes, it is also important to stay away from chemicals that might come in contact with the area. This means that someone with vulvodynia would have to be wary of particular detergents or fabric softeners that are heavily perfumed.
Vulvodynia is a very uncomfortable condition and the next time you experience pain around your vagina, don’t brush it off! If it persists, be sure to reach out to your gynecologist.