Vulvodynia is chronic pain or discomfort of the vulva. The vulva includes the: Labia—labia majora and labia minoraClitorisVaginal opening
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The causes of vulvodynia are not completely known, but may include: InfectionChanges in the vulvar tissueAbnormal nerve sensation
Factors that increase your chance of developing vulvodynia include:
yeast infectionsFrequent use of antibioticsIrritation to the genitals by soaps or detergentsGenital rashesPrevious treatment or surgery to the external genitals
genital wartsPelvic nerve irritation or muscle spasmsHistory of sexual abuse
History of sexual
Vulvodynia causes the following symptoms of the vulva: Pain, which may come and goBurningStingingIrritationRawness
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. It may include a pelvic exam. Tests may include:
Your bodily tissues and fluids may need to be tested. This can be done with:
Tests to check for bacteria and/or yeastBiopsyThe affected area may need to be examined closely. This can be done using a colposcope to magnify the area.
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:
Medicines to manage pain, such as topical anesthetics, estrogen creams, corticosteroid creams, and steroidal injectionMedicines to manage pain and irritation, such as tricyclic antidepressantsOther medicines
Therapy can help you strengthen and relax your pelvic muscles. This will ease muscle spasms. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in pelvic floor issues.
Suggested treatments for vulvodynia include: Interferon injectionsLaser treatmentsSurgery
The causes of vulvodynia are not clearly understood. There is no known way to prevent this condition.
Diagnosis and Management of Vulvar Skin Disorders
. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Practice Bulletin No. 93; 2008 (Reaffirmed 2010).
Last reviewed March 2013 by Andrea Chisholm, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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