February 8th, 2017
Vestibulodynia is defined as ill-defined discomfort in vulva. This condition is characterized by symptoms such as pain in the vulval region whenever any physical pressure is applied. Women may also experience inflammation, burning, and/or itching along with sexual discomfort. However, severity and frequency of symptoms varies from woman to woman.
Vestibulodynia was previously referred to as Vulval Vestibulitis due to site of discomfort i.e. vestibule. Vestibule is the inside part of the inner vaginal lips. The vestibule area possess urethra (urine carrying tube), Bartholin’s gland (gland that lubricates vagina) and vestibule glands – i.e. glands that are responsible for vaginal lubrication via secretions. This condition usually affects sexually active women, especially those who are between 20 and 40 years of age. It is imperative to keep in mind that older women may also get affected. There are two clinical varieties of Vestibulodynia;
The hypersensitivity at the vulval region not only makes your sexual encounters unpleasant or painful, but can also greatly affect your day-to-day non-sexual activities. For example, moving around wearing tight clothes can be burdensome and painful for such women. Even walking or sitting for several hours can be unbearable. Usually these discomforting symptoms lasts for 3 to 6 months but some women may suffer for years.
Research suggests that symptoms of Vestibulodynia are a result of over growth or increased sensitivity of nerve fibers located in the vulva or vestibule region. Following risk factors can greatly aggravate the risk of this disease:
Though, vestibulodynia is a real problem but, it may partially be a result of psychological issues.
As part of the diagnostic process, doctors perform comprehensive examination of vulval area to rule out other possible conditions such as infections. Patient might be referred to a gynecologist for more specific diagnosis. Pressure is applied at vestibular area to point out the exact location of pain. This condition can be mistaken for thrush because sometimes there are no noticeable symptoms except redness. However, a swab testing can rule out this doubt.
Following are some treatment modalities that can help in managing the symptoms of this condition:
Vestibulodynia is a complicated condition which makes diagnosis and treatment fairly difficult. Since, this condition has negative influence on the sex life; it is important to consult a psychosexual therapist as well. Non-penetrating sexual activities have proven to be beneficial in boosting the confidence and intimacy levels. Along with doctors and therapists, it is also vital to communicate with partner in order to explore better options for maintaining the intimate connection.
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