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Vulval Pain Syndrome


Discussions on "Vulval Pain Syndrome" in "Gynaecology Problems" forum.


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    vijigermany's Avatar
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    Vulval Pain Syndrome

    Vulval Pain Syndrome

    Think about this situation .... You are a young woman and your physician has just diagnosed you as "depressed." You experience periods of helplessness, hopelessness, and low self-esteem. You have been sleeping poorly for the last 6 months (rarely sleeping for more than an hour or two at a time) and have lost 15 pounds. These are, in fact, all symptoms of depression.

    However, during the last eight months you have also been experiencing a number of disturbing physical symptoms: intense burning and sharp stinging pain in your vagina and redness and rawness of the female genitalia. You have undergone treatment which has included testing for STDs (all negative), use of topical creams, antibiotics and tranquilizers; even laser surgery and still the pain persists. Where can you turn to next?

    This symptomatic picture describes a complex gynecological disorder know as vulvar pain syndrome or vulvodynia. A woman presenting with these symptoms would typically have been to several doctors without receiving an accurate diagnosis. The condition varies in persistence and severity, but as with most chronic pain, has a profound impact on the quality of one's life.

    Vulvar pain syndrome affects women from adolescence through menopause, and its prevalence is high among women in the United States. Pain may occur spontaneously and may be triggered by a wide variety of activities: from engaging in sexual intercourse to walking to wearing tight-fitting clothing. This interference with daily functioning can impair one's ability to work or study, to engage in physical exercise, and to participate in a full social life.

    Accordingly, vulvar pain syndrome can become physically and emotionally overwhelming to those who are affected, especially when the woman is without a supportive health care system. All these factors put the woman at risk for reduced self-esteem, relationship stress, sexual difficulties, poor body image and depression.
    Unfortunately, due to lack of knowledge and discomfort with sexual health issues on the part of medical professionals there has been misunderstanding, misdiagnosis and a poor response to women suffering from vulvar pain. This has often amplified the problem and contributed to feelings of isolation and despair as well as social and emotional withdrawal.

    Since there is an urgent need for increased awareness about vulvar pain syndrome, the patient must be proactive in finding those who can work toward determining the most effective and individualized treatment possible. This may require an interdisciplinary team of health professionals who not only have a basic knowledge of the varied symptomology, the possible physical causes and treatment options, but also have an understanding of the psychological impact of chronic pain.

    When various medical treatments have been unsuccessful, the syndrome has often been interpreted as being secondary to psychological problems. However, there is no question that the pain is real even if the physical reason cannot be identified.
    There is no evidence that vulvar pain syndrome is caused by infection or that it is a consequence of a sexually transmitted disease. Although the causes are unknown, there are thought to be multiple contributing factors. These include: possible injury to, or irritation of, the nerves that enervate the vulva localized hypersensitivity to infection high levels of oxalate crystals in the urine spasms of muscles that support the pelvic organs

    There are now two national organizations who provide information and resources to women suffering from vulvar pain.. They also provide support networks helping women to make connections in their local communities. It has been found that support groups are very effective in breaking down the isolation experienced as well as to support each other in the process of finding the most effective treatment.

    Women suffering from vulvar pain syndrome may want to seek help from a mental health professional for any number of reasons. You are likely to have concerns about learning coping strategies and pain management skills, and dealing with the effects in your daily life of living with chronic pain. Another major concern is how one�s ability to engage in most sexual activity is impacting one's sense of self as well as one�s marriage or relationship.


    • Try applying some ice some women find this is the best way of relieving the pain.
    • Aloe vera gel, Calendula and Dr Bach Rescue Cream are remedies for sore and painful skin. You can buy them from health food stores. Try each separately. You may also be able to soothe the area by applying vitamin E oil (which you can squeeze out from capsules of vitamin E).
    • Aqueous cream is a plain, soothing, perfume-free cream that you can buy from pharmacies. Many women with vulvodynia find that aqueous cream helps by soothing and rehydrating the skin. Use it cold, by storing it in the fridge. Unlike steroid creams, you can use it as often and for as long as you like.
    • Aveeno (oatmeal) baths are a useful treatment for severe attacks of pain. You can buy the sachets from health shops. Put a sachet in the bath and bathe for 20 minutes. Repeat up to four times.
    • Talk to your family doctor, because tricyclic antidepressant medication often helps. This is not because you are depressed (or imagining the condition), but because these drugs suppress transmission in nerves of the skin. Another medication, gabapentin, is sometimes used (Lancet 2004;363:105860).
    • Your local hospital may have a vulval clinic that your family doctor could refer you to. Vulval clinics are usually part of the hospital dermatology department, and doctors at these clinics are experts in painful vulvas.
    • Other organizations that can offer further information and support are listed in the Useful contacts.

    The good news is that many women with vulvodynia eventually become pain-free, and are able to stop their medication.

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    Re: Vulval Pain Syndrome

    I am searching for local support in Austin, TX for vulvar pain.


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    Re: Vulval Pain Syndrome

    There are now two national organizations who provide information and resources to women suffering from vulvar pain.. They also provide support networks helping women to make connections in their local communities. It has been found that support groups are very effective in breaking down the isolation experienced as well as to support each other in the process of finding the most effective treatment

    How do I find the two national organizations or finding local communities in Austin?


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