What is Vulvodynia

What is Vulvodynia

WHAT IS VULVODYNIA

The vulvodynia is a disorder characterized by pain localized in the area of the vulva, which affects 12-15% of women of childbearing age.

The vulvodynia can remain undiagnosed or untreated for some time; this is because some women sometimes experience discomfort in reporting this condition and this leads them not to discuss it with their GP or caregiver.
On the other hand, health professionals may not be able to recognize the pathology or consider the symptoms of a neuropsychic nature, referring the woman to the psychologist. 

The Vulvodynia is a condition of biological origin that can have a ‘ multifactorial origin and the diagnosis can only be made by paying attention to what she refers to during the visit.

SYMPTOMS OF VULVODYNIA

The vulvodynia has symptoms of multifactorial origin and therefore may differ from woman to woman, but a common symptom for all women in pain. 

Symptoms of Vulvodynia, together with pain can be vaginal burning and irritation of the vulva with consequent redness; pain occurs more intensely during and following sexual intercourse ( dyspareunia ) although sometimes it is not directly related to it. 

Perceived pain can be:

  • Chronic: persistent, never-ending;
  • Intermittent: disappears and reappears;
  • Spontaneous: there is no specific cause that generates it;
  • Provoked: it is a specific condition that induces the painful sensation;
  • Generalized or Localized: affects the entire genital area or a single specific point of the vulva;
  • Isolated: pain is the only perceived symptom;
  • Related to other conditions such as in the case of recurrent Candida vaginitisIrritable Colon SyndromeEndometriosisFibromyalgia, Recurrent headaches. Another cause can be found in sexual disorders (dyspareunia, loss of desire, vaginal dryness, sexual violence, etc …)

As previously stated, vulvar pain is the predominant symptom in Vulvodynia.
This disorder must always induce the professional to carry out a more in-depth analysis of the situation: biological aspects (local conditions of the woman), psychological aspects (anxiety, depression, various types of distress) and psychosexual aspects (harassment, physical and sexual abuse). 

 

HOW TO TELL IF YOU HAVE VULVODYNIA?

To understand if the ailments described above could be symptoms of Vulvodynia, there is a brief self-assessment to be carried out comfortably at home which obviously does not replace a medical opinion; the basic indication remains, that of contacting a specialist who can follow the entire path from diagnosis to treatment. 

The test consists of 6 questions to be answered yes/no: if out of six answers at least three are yes, it is possible that a condition of Vulvodynia is present and therefore it is necessary to contact your doctor or midwife. Here are the six questions :

  1. Have you been treated for repeated episodes of vaginitis and/or cystitis, but the disorders did not completely resolve after the therapy, or did they reappear after a short time?
  2. Are your complaints present when the Vulva is touched (tight clothing, tampons, penetration during intercourse, etc ..)?
  3. Is the pain generally near the entrance to the vagina?
  4. Is vulvar discomfort almost always present with no apparent causes that trigger it?
  5. Do you have a strange sensation (like a pinprick) when you touch the vulva or the entrance to the vagina?
  6. Have your problems been going on for more than three months?

HOW IS VULVODYNIA TREATED?

Given the high multifactorial of the origin of the symptoms, it is difficult to find a standard therapy for the treatment of Vulvodynia; multidisciplinary collaboration is needed to resolve the pain causes. 

Personalized therapy, whatever it may be, will have the following aims:

  • optimize pain control: reduce pain as much as possible until it disappears; 
  • restore the functions that the disorder has altered and improved the physical and mental well-being of the woman;
  • improve the quality of life of women.

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