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The term vulvodynia is used to describe pain in the vulva, often severe, of unknown cause. Vestibulodynia (formerly vulvar or vulval vestibulitis) is a related term. more...

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A wide variety of possible causes and treatments for vulvodynia are currently being explored. Some possible causes include: allergy or other sensitivity to chemicals or organisms normally found in the environment, autoimmune disorder similar to lupus erythematosus, chronic tension or spasm of the muscles of the vulvar (or vulval) area.

The guidelines in Vulvovaginal health may be of some help.

Vulvodynia is the term used to describe women who experience the sensation of vulval burning and soreness in the absence of any obvious skin condition or infection. The sensation of burning and soreness of the vulva can be continuous (unprovoked vulvodynia) or on light touch eg. sexual intercourse or tampon use (provoked vulvodynia). Women who have unprovoked vulvodynia were formally know as having dysaesthetic vulvodynia where pain was felt without touch. Vestibulodynia is the term replacing vestibulitis where pain is felt on light touch. A recent change in the terminology of these conditions means that the description of women with vulvodynia can be more uniform amongst health professionals and patients. Many women have symptoms which overlap between both conditions.

Dysaesthetic vulvodynia and vestibulitis are now obsolete terms that you'll hear less and less frequently as they are phased out.

This condition is a cause of vulval burning and soreness usually as a consequence of irritation or hypersensitivity of the nerve fibres in the vulval skin. The abnormal nerve fibre signals from the skin are felt as a sensation of pain by the woman. This type of pain can occur even when the area is not touched. Another example of nerve-type (neuropathic pain) like vulvodynia is the pain some people experience with an attack of shingles. Once the rash of shingles has disappeared the area of skin where the rash was can be intensely painful and sore despite the skin appearing normal. The condition is called post-hepatic neuralgia.

The pain described by women with unprovoked vulvodynia is often of a burning, aching nature. The intensity of pain can vary from mild discomfort to a severe constant pain which can even prevent you from sitting down comfortably. The pain is usually continuous and can interfere with sleep. As with long-term pain of any cause you can have good days and bad days. Itching is not usually a feature of the condition. The pain in unprovoked vulvodynia is not always restricted to the vulval area (area of skin on the outside of the vagina) and some women get pain elsewhere. This can be around the inside of the thighs, upper legs and even around the anus (back passage) and urethra (where you pass urine). Some women also have pain when they empty their bowels. Unprovoked vulvodynia can have an affect on sexual activity and is associated with pain during foreplay and penetration. In some women with unprovoked vulvodynia the burning sensation can be generalised over the whole genital area. Alternatively it can be localised to just the clitoris (clitorodynia) or just one side of the vulva (hemi-vulvodynia).


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The Vulvodynia Survival Guide: How to Overcome Painful Vaginal Symptoms and Enjoy an Active Lifestyle $11.11 Tricyclics, education key to vulvodynia care. (It's Not All in Their Heads).(diagnosing and caring for vaginal diseases) : An article from: Skin & Allergy News $5.95
Vulvodynia treatment includes exercise and sex therapy. (Surgery an Option if all Else Fails). : An article from: Family Practice News $5.95

Dr. Hope Haefner, director of the University of Michigan Center for Vulvar Diseases, and her colleagues have recently released a guideline for the diagnosis ...
First vulvodynia guideline published
HOUSTON -- A new guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of vulvodynia offers multiple treatment options, including experimental and complementary ...
Multiple therapeutic approaches: don't give up on Tx for persistent vulvodynia
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. -- Vulvodynia is not the rarity it has traditionally been considered, and the continuing uncertainty about what causes it is not an obstacle to effective treatment, Dr. Barba
Tricyclics and patient education key to vulvodynia care - Vestibulitis, Dysethetic Vulvodynia
HOUSTON -- There are no fast or easy cures for vulvodynia, but most patients improve with appropriate management and emotional support, Dr. Elizabeth ...
Refractory Vulvodynia: Look for Interstitial Cystitis
SAN FRANCISCO -- Inpatients with refractory vulvodynia, screening for and treating concomitant interstitial cystitis is often the key to improving both ...
Psychological Factors Not Linked to Vulvodynia
SANTA FE, N.M. -- Psychological disturbances probably do not contribute to the development or maintenance of vulvodynia, according to results of a cross-sectional ...
Vulvodynia is important cause of vulval pain
EDITOR--Although Butcher's review of female sexual problems discusses the causes of superficial vulval pain,[1] it omits to mention vulvodynia--in our ...
Vulvodynia and Vulvar Vestibulitis: Challenges in Diagnosis and Management
Vulvodynia is a problem most family physicians can expect to encounter. It is a syndrome of unexplained vulvar pain, frequently accompanied by physical ...

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