Vulvodynia - Overview
How is it treated?
There are many
treatments for vulvodynia, but what works for someone else may not help you.
Work with your doctor to find what is best for you. Even though there is no
cure, treatment can help you feel better and lead a full and active life.
- Medicines. Some examples are antidepressants,
seizure medicines, nerve blocks, and medicated
creams. These can help make the tissues of the vulva less sensitive.
And antihistamines can help relieve
- BiofeedbackBiofeedback. This treatment can
help you learn how to control and relax your pelvic muscles. Tightness or
spasms in these muscles can make vulvar pain worse.
- Physical therapyPhysical therapy. Specific exercises can help you strengthen your pelvic muscles.
- Estrogen creams. Putting this cream on your skin can help relieve pain.
- Surgery. In rare cases, surgery is done to remove tissue that is very sensitive.
There are other things you can try to
relieve your symptoms:
- Always clean your vulva gently.
- Avoid soaps and other products, such as vaginal sprays or douches, that irritate your skin.
- Wear loose-fitting cotton
clothes. Avoid nylon and other fabrics that hold moisture close to the skin.
This may cause irritation and allow an infection to start.
hot baths, and don't use soaps or bath products to wash your vulva. Rinse
with water only, and gently pat the area dry.
- Relieve itching and
pain with a cold water compress or cool baths. Don't scratch the
- Try using a vaginal lubricant, such as Astroglide or K-Y
Jelly, to reduce irritation from having sex.
- Stay active. But
limit exercises that can irritate the vulva, such as bike riding or horseback
How can you live better with vulvodynia?
When you have vulvodynia, you may find it hard to do your daily tasks. It
may hurt to walk, exercise, or sit for long periods of time. And it may hurt to
have sex. All of these things can affect your life, work, and
At times you may feel overwhelmed, tired, and angry.
These feelings are normal. Most women who have vulvar pain feel this way at
one time or another.
Even though living with vulvar pain can be
stressful, the good news is that you can do some simple things to feel
- See a counselor.Cognitive-behavioral therapy allows you to express
your emotions and concerns and to learn new ways of coping with vulvar pain.
Sex therapy can also help you and your partner find ways to be intimate that
don't cause pain.
- Keep a pain diary. You can track
moods, thoughts, activities, and medicines that affect pain. Having a record of
pain can help you and your doctor find the best ways to treat it.
- Get support from other women. A support group, online forum, or chat group helps you share your concerns and hear how
other people cope with the pain and challenges of living with
- Practice relaxation and breathing exercises.Meditation and
guided imagery are two examples of how you can reduce stress and relax your mind and muscles.