Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Is vulvodynia curable?


In the modern world, many medicines are available to help with the many health conditions that affect a lot of people. We should be grateful that medicine nowadays is much safer and effective when compared to medicine in the old days. Conditions such as vulvodynia may make a person experiencing it worry and find ways of feeling better with the condition. We will learn more about vulvodynia in this article.

Before we go further on vulvodynia, you might want to know a bit more on vulva, a structure that is associated with vulvodynia. Vulva is the part of the genitals located outside of the female body. It is a term used to describe all structures that shape the female external genitalia. Components include inner and outer lips of vagina, glands, opening of vagina with urethra, clitoris and mon pubis. There are many functions of the vulva such as delivering urine out the body, protecting the internal female reproductive tract against infection, supporting reproduction functions such as pregnancy or menstruation and playing a role in sexual pleasure.

Vulvodynia is a condition where there is pain or discomfort at or around the vulva. Pain in or around the vulva is said to be vulvodynia if the pain lasts for at least 3 months and with no specific causes leading to the condition.  Up to 16% of women may experience Vulvodynia. This condition can affect both girls and women of all ages. Study shows that the average age for females to have this condition is around the age of 30 or 40 years old, although the age can be from 6 to 70 years old and can be affected by vulvodynia.

The exact cause for vulvodynia is not known. What we do know is that vulvodynia may be caused by many possible causes or factors that contribute to vulvodynia. Among the causes are irritation, over-sensitivity or damages to the nerves in vulva, weak pelvic floor muscles, changes in hormones, previous vaginal infections, other pain syndrome such as fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome, trauma to the vulva such as from episiotomy, dermatitis, mood problems and chronic stress.

Vulvodynia can be localised or generalised. Localised vulvodynia means the pain is only at one vulvar site. Most women with localised vulvodynia have Provoked Vestibulodynia (PVD). PVD is pain that can be during or after pressure is applied to the vestibule (tissue surrounding vaginal opening) such as from sexual intercourse, tampon insertion, wearing fitted pants, gynecologic examination and/or long sitting. Generalised vulvodynia is pain that occurs spontaneously and relatively constant but with periods of relief from the pain symptoms. When there is pressure applied to the vulva such as from sexual intercourse or prolonged sitting, pain symptoms can be triggered.

Vulvodynia symptoms typically do not cause any changes to the way vulva looks. Symptoms are more on the pain or discomfort that is emphasised by the patient. Pain can be burning, stabbing, soreness or throbbing. The pain may either affect part of the vulva or vulvar as a whole. Pain may be constant or only once in a while. Pain is often caused by pressure placed onto the vulva. Pain or discomfort may start or stop without warning. Despite the vulva looking normal, in some instances, it may appear inflamed or swollen.

Due to the fact that vulvodynia can have a significant effect on a female’s quality of life, those who are affected will want to know what they can do to cope with the condition. Treatment aims to provide relief both physically and mentally. Treatment includes medication to ease pain either topical or oral medication, surgery in cases of PVD, nerve block and psychological aid such as psychotherapy. It is worth noting that there is no single treatment that works for everyone despite the condition of vulvodynia being similar. Many patients may have to go through several treatments before knowing the exact treatment that works for them.

Patient might be asking if vulvodynia is curable. Unfortunately, vulvodynia has no cure as the condition can keep coming back. The good news is, treatment does help in making patients feel better and allowing patients to be able to live a full and active life as other females do. Apart from treatment, patients might want to really focus on taking care of the vulva. This includes delicate genital hygiene, using mild non-irritating agents close to the vulvar and wearing cotton underwear. Patients are also advised to only clean vulva with water and use designated moisturiser or emollient to the affected area. Using sanitary pads made with delicate cotton is strongly recommended for patients with vulvodynia. Patients are also advised to use non-irritating agents and good lubrication for sexual intercourse.

In essence, vulvodynia is a condition that needs to be treated. It can be frustrating for patients to cope with this condition but patients have to be patient and keep an open mind in trying all treatments available. It is important to address vulvodynia as to leave it untreated can have a great effect on the person’s quality of life.

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