What Is Vulvodynia?

>> Thursday, October 13, 2011

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Sexual activity is something most of us take for granted and is a pleasurable way to relieve stress and spend quality time with our partners. Some women struggle with the desire to have and enjoy sex with their partners because they experience severe pain with sex and unusual spasms of the vagina that can make having sex impossible.

There are a number of conditions that can cause pain externally on penetration such as vaginal yeast infection, sexually transmitted infections, congenital or acquired skin conditions, lack of lubrication, hormonal factors, genetic factors and vaginismus.

Of course a lot of you have deeper pain that occurs after penetration and this can come from endometriosis, IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome) or, again, some type of sexually transmitted infection causing vulvodynia.

What is vulvodynia? Well it is pain in the mon pubis area that is so painful it hurts to even touch that area or around the vaginal opening. The pain is there but there is no infection or lesions or other problems to explain why the pain is present. This is frustrating to both the doctor and the patient, and sometimes the patient is left wondering what to do as no treatment is rendered and they leave the doctor’s office feeling no better.

With vaginismus women are unable to allow any vaginal penetration at all, even of tampons. In most cases vaginal penetration has never been possible and is caused by extreme tension in the pelvic floor muscles which are the same ones used for voiding and having bowel movements.

I know the handful of patients I have that have this condition want to know if anyone can help them. The answer is “yes”, but you need to start with your doctor and from there you can be tried on biofeedback therapy, relaxation exercises, certain medications, and sometimes topical numbing or anesthetic agents.

The most important thing is to realize you are not alone and many other woman have this same condition. Just let someone know so you can get the help you need.

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