What is Vulvodynia?
Vulvodynia is the condition when a female experiences pain and discomfort around the vulva area. This discomfort can include irritation, rawness, stinging or burning, the later being the most common. Depending on the individual, the symptoms may be in one place, or spread across the genitalia in various spots; the severity and number of symptoms also vary greatly; and are not necessarily caused by placing pressure on the area, but can be worsened by it. These symptoms are not caused by infection, disease, including any sexually transmitted disease.
There are a number of causes for this distress: the individual may have incurred an injury at some point and is irritating the nerves; environmental factors such as trauma or an infection may be provoking an abnormal response in the various cells in the vulva; contributing genetic factors; supporting pelvic organ muscle spasms; or a hypersensitivity to Candida, probably better known as yeast.
When being seen by a doctor, there are several things that one can expect. As with most visits, there will be a question period this includes your medical history, your symptoms, diet, lifestyle, hygiene, medication that you may be taking, and other medical problems that you may have. The doctor will examine the individual’s genitalia searching for other reasons for the discomfort, such as infection. He will most likely perform fungal cultures, and a q-tip test. The q-tip test is performed by taking a q-tip and applying pressure to various spots to find the location of the discomfort.
Of course there are treatments for this condition, and they vary according to each individual. The cessation of certain soaps, douches, etc., will be the first step and perhaps the application of special cream anesthetics may be the answer. If the condition is worse, then some antidepressants or antispasmodics may be prescribed. These are just examples. The treatment solely depends on the cause and severity.
If you would like any more information on this, the National Vulvodynia Association has a lot of information, as does MayoClinic.com. Wikipedia includes information on this topic plus exercises that may ease the pain, so it would be worth checking out. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is advised that you see your doctor.