What is Vulvodynia?
Vulvodynia means pain in the vulva or the perineum. The vulva is the external female genitals. The perineum is the area between the vulva and the rectum, which includes the vagina, rectum, and inner thighs. There are several categories of Vulvodynia:
- Cyclic Vestibulitis This is vaginal pain that comes and goes with your menstrual period. Some patients have increased pain with menstruation and some have decreased pain.
- Vulvar Dermatitis These are skin conditions that cause pain in the perineum. These usually have visible spots of many different colors and types.
- Idiopathic Vulvodynia The cause of this type is usually not known. This makes it very hard to diagnose and treat.
What Causes Vulvodynia?
The causes of Vulvodynia are varied. Sometimes it is not possible to identify the cause. Your doctor will be able to best tell which might be the cause in your case. Here is a list of possible causes:
- Infection such as a sexually transmitted disease or yeast
- Skin condition
- Spasms of the pelvic floor muscles
- Irritation of a nerve
- Hormone imbalance
- Chemical reaction or allergy Vulvodynia
Treatments for Vulvodynia are as varied as the causes. It may take several tries to identify which will work best for you. It is best to give each treatment a six month trial before deciding that it is not helping (unless it is clearly increasing your pain). Always talk to your doctor and physical therapist before making changes in your treatment program.