Vulvodynia causes pain in the external area of a woman’s genitals
Our San Antonio OBGYNs can help women who are suffering from the pain and discomfort of vulvodynia. Vulvodynia affects the vulva, which is the outer area of the genitals. Pain the genitals can last for years if left untreated.
Physicians don’t know what causes this condition, but they know there are contributing factors.
- Irritation or damage affecting nerves in the vulvar region
- An inflamed vulva
- Allergies, food sensitivities or sensitive skin
- Pelvic floor disorders
- Hormonal changes
Vulvodynia can be painful and frustrating
Women are sometimes embarrassed to talk about their vulvodynia symptoms, so they suffer in silence. Genital pain may be in specific areas or affect the entire area. The pain may be constant, occasional or occur when someone or something touches the vulva. Women describe their pain as burning, stinging, throbbing or general soreness. The area may feel raw or itchy. Vulvodynia can cause pain during sex, pelvic exams and tampon insertion. Sitting for long periods of time or wearing tight fitting clothing can also cause pain.
When women ignore this pain, they can become frustrated, depressed or experience problems with sleep and sex, resulting in relationship problems and a poor quality of life.
Simple steps can help with the pain
Patients with vulvodynia can follow these simple steps from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to help reduce their symptoms.
- Avoid douching and using products that contain deodorants, dyes and perfume in the vulvar area
- Use water only to clean the vulva
- Wear underwear that is 100% cotton
- Do use lubricants during intercourse, but do not use products that contain irritants
- Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the vulvar skin after bathing
- Apply cool gel packs directly to the vulva for pain relief
Our San Antonio OBGYNs recommend several different treatments
A vulvodynia treatment plan is individualized and may include the following options.
- Medication options include local anesthetics, antidepressants and hormone cream.
- Trigger point therapy ranges from soft tissue massage to help relieve tight muscles to injections of steroids combined with an anesthetic medication in the trigger point area.
- Biofeedback and physical therapy help patients learn to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
- A nerve block is a way to interrupt the pain signals. A practitioner injects an anesthetic drug into the nerves that go from the vulva to the spinal cord.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy can help patients with vulvodynia. A counselor helps women cope with the frustration of chronic pain. A therapist may also provide support and sexual counseling for women alone or with their partner.
Our San Antonio OBGYNs urge women who are suffering from vulvodynia to seek treatment. Our experienced physicians are trained to help. Contact us for an appointment to address pain in the genitals.