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Ask the Loveologist: Pain Down There

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Ask the Loveologist: Pain Down There


I have been having pain around my vagina for a long time and have tried all the over the counter medicines for infections I could find.  Nothing is helping and it hurts just to pee and wipe myself.  Sometimes the burning is bad just when I sit for too long or wear jeans. I can’t even think about being sexual and my boyfriend thinks I am making it up and it is all in my head because you can’t really see anything, but sometimes it is a little red and swollen.  I don’t know what to do.  Any ideas?

What you are describing sounds painfully familiar to many women who, like you, often go without a diagnosis or treatment. Chronic pain on the outside of the vaginal opening  which is called the vulvar region of the vagina, is called vulvodynia.  Symptoms include the burning you mentioned, itching, stinging, rawness, soreness and painful intercourse.

For many women the first sign of symptoms comes with first experiences of intercourse which is one of the reasons that many women don’t talk about it or go for help.

Some women who have struggled with reoccurring bacterial or yeast infections have a higher risk of vulvodynia, while others have a history of sexual abuse. However most women with vulvodynia have no known factors that are associated with the condition. A similar condition called vulvar vestibulitis, may cause pain only when pressure is applied to the area surrounding the entrance to the vagina.  Another related condition called vaginismus might also be considered if the muscles around and in the vagina tend to spasm.  It is not an easy call as vaginal pain can cause spasms and spasms can cause pain.

Vaginal pain is a fairly common condition with varied studies putting the percentage of women affected at somewhere between 8 and 15 percent.  These findings suggest that pain in the vaginal area impact over 2 million women in the US alone.  Although there are still some physicians who are unfamiliar with this condition and treatments, the awareness and range of treatments is growing. If you have chronic or reoccurring genital pain you should find a physician who can help you and rule out easily treatable causes of vulvar pain.

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

50 comments

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12:05PM PDT on Aug 15, 2011

I wish more doctors knew about this condition. After countless UTI's and a thorough examination by a urologist, he concluded that I was healthy and didn't see anything wrong with my urinary system. I didn't hear about vulvodynia until recently and I think that is exactly what had been bothering me all along.

5:45PM PDT on Oct 2, 2010

This is very helpful for both sides to know.

2:56PM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

thank you for this

1:12PM PDT on Aug 14, 2010

The problem is that even when I did talk to my OBGYN(s), they just recommend lubricant. They don't want to talk about it either.

3:23AM PDT on Aug 13, 2010

wow.. interesting. definitely more people need to know about this.

6:35PM PDT on Aug 12, 2010

Thanks for the infomation - It's very interesting to know that.

2:52AM PDT on Aug 8, 2010

More women need to know about this. I'm glad that my skin is so sensitive that I can't wear anything but natural fabrics such as cotton and silk. I also don't wear tight clothing. But it's a bear to have pain our most sensitive area. Thank you for getting this out there.

9:59AM PDT on Aug 7, 2010

I'm glad that that someone is talking about this issue. I have never had pain in my vaginal area (except for yeast infections or one urinary tract infections. Then I went through Menopause and did I ever have problems. First my doctor puts me on Premarin due to vaginal dryness, somewhere after about a year I started having vaginal pain. We knew I was alergic to latex yet where was this pain coming from. My husband recommended I go off the Premarin ( contains hormones) and when I did guess what!! No More Pain. Premarin is for temporary use which my gynocologist never mentioned, and never suspected when I had the pain. Now I use "microbeads" as it is the only product that softens the dry area so I can have intercourse without pain. I hope this helps someone else avoid all the vaginal pain I went through.

6:12AM PDT on Aug 7, 2010

thanks

8:42PM PDT on Aug 6, 2010

noted

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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