What is vulvodynia?
Vulvodynia affects up to 12% of women of any age, but is most common in women between the ages of 15 and 30 who haven’t had a vaginal childbirth. The pain can impact relationships, lower libido, cause problems with mental health, and affect everyday life. There usually isn’t one simple cause of vulvodynia, and experts still don’t fully understand the condition.
It’s not always easy to talk about pain and sensitivity around the vulva or vaginal opening. If you’re experiencing pain or a stinging sensation in the vulva, it’s important to speak to a doctor. Without the right care, it’s possible that the pain could worsen over time, but there are treatments that can help you find relief.
You may experience other problems alongside vulvodynia, like painful periods, vaginismus (when the muscles around the vagina tighten), a painful bladder condition called interstitial cystitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Because of the effect that vulvodynia can have on your daily life, it can also lead to emotional problems like:
Sex and relationship difficulties
Body image problems
It can be challenging to talk about the emotional effect the condition is having on you. But it’s a good idea to discuss these issues with a doctor if you can. They’re here to listen and will be able to offer help and support.
Diagnosis and treatment for vulvodynia
Lifestyle changes to help vulvodynia
When to speak to a doctor
- Reviewed by:
- Dr Rhianna McClymont, Lead GP at Livi
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