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 canít even think about being sexual and my boyfriend thinks I am making it up and it is all in my head because you canít really see anything, but sometimes it is a little red and swollen.† I donít 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 donít 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.

Sometimes basic advice like switching to cotton underwear and giving up tight fitting clothes can make a difference.† Avoiding petro-chemical irritants in douches, soaps, detergents and lubricants can also make a big difference for some women.† Some women have success with the use of topical crŤmes and hormones.† Still others have reported eliminating pain through a low-oxalate diet which has helped those women with† high urine oxalate levels.† Many women have also found relief through bio-feedback programs, physical therapy and relaxation programs.

Education is a good friend when it comes to conditions that impact our daily life and this condition has both excellent website resources and books to better understand what is happening in your body and take the steps to deal with it effectively.† The National Vulvodynia Association is an exhaustive website that offers patient resources, medical professional referrals and online educations.† The best advice I can give any woman who is struggling with pain is to not just accept it.† Do the research and find the support you need to move towards solutions to your pain.† We are always our own best advocates.

50 comments

Jody Williams
Jody Williams5 years ago

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.

kenneth m.
kenneth m.5 years ago

This is very helpful for both sides to know.

Kerry Stuparitz
Kerry G.6 years ago

thank you for this

Ursula Myers
Ursula Myers6 years ago

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.

Desiree C.
Desiree s.6 years ago

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

Mary Alvarez

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

Lika S.
Lika S.6 years ago

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.

Dot What Was That

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.

nobo dy
nobo dy6 years ago

thanks

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L.6 years ago

noted