Vulvodynia: types, symptoms, possible causes and treatment

Diseases or conditions related to intimate areas, both in men and women, are still considered a taboo in our society. This causes people who suffer from such a condition to live in silence and be very reluctant to seek professional help.

One of these conditions is vulvodynia, A disease that affects the vulvar region which can be very debilitating for the person suffering from the pain it causes. In this article, we’ll talk about the different types of vulvodynia, along with its symptoms, causes, treatment, and how to prevent it.

    What is vulvodynia?

    The term vulvodynia refers to vaginal condition causes difficult to determine and characterized by chronic discomfort and pain in the vulvar region. This type of discomfort can manifest itself either as a burning sensation or as pain, to the point of causing a vulvar swelling effect.

    The intensity and severity of symptoms can vary from person to person. These symptoms can appear both constantly and sporadically but recurrently. In addition, the sensations can be localized to specific points of the vulva or be a generalized or diffuse discomfort. Finally, the intensity of these can range from slight discomfort, throbbing and truly debilitating pain for the person who suffers from it.

    In addition, these symptoms can also change over time in a single person. Typically, the pain tends to get worse after dark, as well as with menstruation, stressful stages, or in cold, humid environments.

    In order for it to be considered a diagnosis of vulvodynia, symptoms should stay for more than three months, May appear suddenly and without apparent cause. At other times, the pain is caused by a mild stimulus that usually does not match the degree of pain experienced. This stimulus can come from a light rubbing, from just walking or doing some type of exercise or inserting a tampon.

    Due to the great discomfort in the vulvar area, the person may become unable to perform certain types of activities, such as cycling. Above all, create big problems when it comes to having sexAs the sensation of pain makes any kind of intimate contact very difficult and boring.

    As a curious fact, throughout history the inability to find physical causes in vulvodynia has led to it being considered a psychosomatic illness of women caused by high levels of anxiety and stress. It made vulvodynia something like a mental condition, so patients were reluctant to seek help.

    Different types of vulvodynia

    As stated above, vulvodynia can present in several ways, Vary both the location of which symptoms and the intensity of the symptoms. This allows them to distinguish between different types of vulvodynia, known as dysaesthetic or generalized vulvodynia, and vulgar vestibulitis syndrome or localized vulvodynia.

    1. Dysesthesic vulvodynia

    This first classification of vulvodynia is characterized by the fact that the symptoms are widespread, that is, they spread throughout the vulvar region. These discomforts can appear discontinuously or constantly and cannot be caused by any type of stimulus or in response to any type of pressure or scratching.

    In some cases, the pain is accompanied by skin disorders in the perineal area like redness, as well as rectal and urethral problems or muscle spasms in the pelvic floor area.

    2. Vulgar vestibulitis syndrome

    Localized vulvodynia, clinically known as vulvestulitis vulgaris syndrome, is the more common of the two classifications. In these cases, the pain it appears in localized areas, but more commonly in the area around the vagina (Lobby). This discomfort, in the form of pain or burning, can appear suddenly and without apparent cause or through contact or pressure from a stimulus.

    Although this does not happen in all cases, this condition of the vulva can be accompanied or produced by other physical disorders such as different types of cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome or fibromyalgia.

    What are the symptoms?

    Although, as already mentioned, symptoms of vulvodynia may vary from patient to patientThere are some common signs of this condition that are present in all of them.

    These symptoms are manifested as a feeling of pain or burning in the area of ​​the vulva, which can spread to the urethra, clitoris, or go area. The discomfort can become so severe that the person feels a strong abrasion, Appearance of small lesions or cuts in the affected area. Other symptoms may include:

    • Severe vaginal dryness accompanied by itching.
    • Tingling sensation in the affected area.
    • Pain similar to that caused by electric shock or electric shock.
    • Pain similar to that which would cause a blow to the affected area.
    • Anal or rectal pain.
    • Increased pain when performing certain activities such as sitting or cycling.

    The form and severity with which these symptoms appear can affect a person’s quality of life. In addition to being unable to maintain any type of intimate or sexual relationship. This interference with daily life can lead to great feelings of frustration which can even lead to severe depressive disorder.

    What are the causes?

    At the moment, the causes of vulvodynia remain unknown. However, it is assumed that repeated suffering from inflammatory infections may be the primary trigger for this condition.

    These infections can be caused by poor personal hygiene, for example contact with certain chemicals or synthetic fabrics. As well as for excessively intense physical activities or sexual intercourse, among others.

    The main causes related to vulvodynia are:

    • Injury or inflammation of the nerves surrounding the vulvar area.
    • Vaginal infections.
    • Allergies or reactive skin.
    • Hormonal changes.
    • Weak pelvic floor.

    Is there a treatment?

    Due to the complexity and lack of information about this condition, no effective treatment has yet been developed for vulvodynia that manages to eliminate the symptoms permanently.

    However, there are treatments that focus on relieving the severity and recurrence of symptoms. Which, moreover, are centered on the particular characteristics of each concrete case of vulvodynia. For this it is done a combination of different types of therapeutic interventions among which we can find:

    • pharmacological treatment using steroids, tricyclic antidepressants, or anticonvulsants for pain relief, and antihistamines for itching.
    • Biofeedback therapy where the person learns to relax the pelvic muscles and reduce pain.
    • Local anesthetic drugs.
    • Nerve blockers.
    • Pelvic floor exercises.
    • Surgery to remove areas of affected tissue (only in the most severe cases).

    How can it be avoided?

    Since the exact causes are not known, it is not very reasonable to ensure that it can be avoided. However, there are a number of steps people can take to reduce the chances of this happening or, in the event of suffering, decrease the intensity of discomfort. These hygiene and behavior recommendations include:

    • Wear cotton underwear, If it can be white.
    • Wear comfortable and loose clothing.
    • Wash with gentle intimate soaps and without perfumes. In the case of very frequent washing, use only water.
    • Avoid continuous use of towels or panty liners. Better to use 100% cotton absorbents.
    • Do not hold urine.
    • Use water-based lubricants and as natural as possible.
    • Avoid physical exercises that involve continuous rubbing or rubbing the vulvar area.
    • If after having sex or urinating you feel discomfort, apply cold compresses or cool the affected area.

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