Vulvodynia – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods

Vulvodynia vulvar pain is the word for pain in the vulva. The pain is usually described as a burning, stinging, itching, irritating or a raw feeling. Vulvodynia is more common in white women. It’s rare in women of other races. Vulvodynia is different from itching or vulvar pruritus. Vulvodynia actually precludes itching because the burning and pain cause an intolerance to scratching. This condition is a cause of vulval burning and soreness usually as a consequence of irritation or hypersensitivity of the nerve fibres in the vulval skin. The condition is one of exclusion and the diseases listed in the differential diagnosis need to be considered. The pain may be generalized or localized in the vulvar region. Burning sensations are the most common, but the type and severity of symptoms are highly individualized. In most women with the condition the appearance of the vulva is normal since the problem lies with the nerve fibres, which can’t be seen. Although the pain may be felt inside the the problem is actually on the outside. It can also make you upset or depressed. It might even cause problems in your relationship with your spouse or partner.

Some cases of vulvodynia may be due to compression or disease of the pudendal nerve, one of the main nerves that relays sensation to and from the genitals. There are several reasons vulvodynia may be underreported. In most cases, the vulvar pain then becomes a chronic problem varying in length from months to years. It may be partly due to the absence of visible signs of vulvodynia. Or it could be the reluctance of many women to talk about their symptoms. It usually starts suddenly and may last for months to years. Although it isn’t life-threatening, the pain may make you cut back on some of your normal activities. Once the rash of shingles has disappeared the area of skin where the rash was can be intensely painful and sore despite the skin appearing normal. The condition is called post-hepatic neuralgia. Most women with vulvodynia have been to many physicians either with inaccurate diagnoses or unsatisfactory treatment.

Causes of Vulvodynia

The common causes and risk factor’s of Vulvodynia include the following:

The actual cause of vulvodynia is unknown; it may be the result of multiple factors.

Frequent yeast infections.

Injury to or irritation of the nerves surrounding your vulvar region.

Chemical irritation of the external genitals (from soaps or detergents in clothing).

Allergies or a localized hypersensitivity of the skin.

Past or present genital warts.

High levels of oxalate crystals in the urine (oxalate is the salt of oxalic acid, which is a powder that comes from certain plants such as spinach); the crystals get lodged in the vulvar tissue, causing pain.

Symptoms of Vulvodynia

Some symptoms related to Vulvodynia are as follows:

Pain occurs in the vulva.

Severe point tenderness on touch (positive cotton swab test), and erythema.

Burning, stinging, irritation, aching or rawness of the genital area.

The pain may also be felt around the urethra, the back passage, the tops of the legs and the inner thighs.

Vulvar tissue may look minimally inflamed or swollen.

Treatment of Vulvodynia

Here is list of the methods for treating Vulvodynia:

Using medications such as lidocaine can provide temporary relief from the pain.

Taking the drug amitriptyline (most commonly used as an anti-depressant but also used to treat pain) has been found to be the most effective treatment for vulvodynia.

Biofeedback therapy can help reduce pain by teaching you how to control specific body responses.

Some types of vulvar pain get better with creams or pills made to treat yeast infections.

Other treatments that may help include interferon injections or laser therapy.

Surgery is an option for some women only when other treatments do not produce satisfactory relief. There are two types of surgery available: scalpel and laser.