Vulvodynia: causes and complications

Vulvodynia It is a nuisance or chronic pain in the vulva, area surrounding the opening of the vagina. Vulvodynia does not have a specific and known cause. This condition can last from months to years.

The pain, burning or irritation associated with vulvodynia can cause a lot of discomfort. So that Sitting for long periods or having sex becomes unthinkable.

If you suffer from vulvodynia, do not let the absence of visible signs or the embarrassment of talking about the symptoms prevent you from seeking help. The doctor can determine the cause and there are Treatment options available to reduce discomfort.


The main symptom of vulvodynia is pain in the genital area. In addition, other symptoms may appear such as:

The pain can be constant or sporadic. It may appear only when the sensitive area is touched or the generalized pain is felt throughout the vulvar area. The pain can also be located in the opening of the vagina.

Vulvar tissue may look slightly inflamed or swollen, although most of the time, the vulva seems normal. Not to be confused with a similar disease, vestibulodynia, that causes pain only when pressure is applied in the area surrounding the entrance of the vagina.

Also read: Why do I feel vaginal discomfort when exercising?


Before diagnosing vulvodynia, the doctor will ask you questions about your history and also may recommend exams such as:

Pelvic exam

The doctor performs a visual inspection of the outside of the genitals and vagina to see if there are signs of infection or other causes of symptoms.

Even if there is no visual evidence of infection, the doctor may take a sample of cells from the vagina to determine the existence of infection, such as vaginal candidosis or bacterial vaginosis.

Hyssop Test

The doctor uses a moistened swab to Review the specific pain areas that are located in the vulvar region.

You may also be interested: 4 home remedies to balance vaginal pH

Vulvodynia treatment

Patients can have different treatment options as:

  • Topical medications: as local anesthetic or hormonal creams.
  • Pharmacological treatments: as analgesics, antidepressants or anticonvulsants.
  • Biofeedback Therapy: to help decrease the feeling of pain.
  • Physiotherapy: to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Corticosteroid or anesthetic injections.
  • Surgery: to remove the affected skin and tissues in localized vulvodynia.
  • Changes in the diet: Some doctors suggest a diet low in oxalates, which can form crystals in the body if the kidneys do not filter them.
  • Complementary or alternative therapies: such as relaxation, massages, homeopathic therapies and acupuncture.

Surgical treatment

Surgery may be a treatment option for women with severe vulvar pain. due to vulvar vestibulitis that cannot be relieved with other options.

Vestibulectomy remove the painful tissue from the area vestibular In turn, it could help relieve pain and make the woman feel more comfortable during sex.

But nevertheless, surgery is usually considered as a last resort and it is not recommended for women with generalized vulvodynia.

Changes in lifestyle

Treating the vulva carefully can help relieve pain. In addition, it can help you follow guidelines such as:

  • You wear 100% cotton underwear. You should also avoid tight socks.
  • Avoid douching.
  • Use mild soaps for the bathroom. For the vulva use only water.
  • Do not use wipes or vaginal deodorants.
  • Use lubricants during sex
  • Put on cold gel bags on the vulva to reduce pain and itching
  • Avoid doing exercises that put pressure directly on the vulva, like riding a bicycle.

Vulvar pain may have an emotional or psychological component, so some women benefit from receiving psychological support, sexual therapy or both.

Alternative or complementary treatments such as Yoga and acupuncture can be useful to manage the pain of vulvodynia, but there is little evidence on the effectiveness of these approaches.

Possible complications of vulvodynia

Suffer This condition can have a devastating physical and emotional impact. Which can end up generating problems of different kinds such as:

  • Problems in personal relationships.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Sexual problems.