Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What is Vulvodynia?

Vulvodynia is a legitimate, chronic pain condition with no cure. People with Vulvodynia experience stinging, stabbing, burning, itching, throbbing or sore pain in their genitals. The pain is not caused by infection or injury. The pain can be constant or sporadic. This varies very much from person to person and day by day. The pain can stop and start unexpectedly, lasting minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years. Patients can even go through a remission period of months or years and suddenly have the pain return.

Vulvodynia is said to be as painful as , if not more painful than more widely known pain pain conditions such as Fibromyalgia. But since Vulvodynia is under researched and under funded, much less is known about this illness by the public and even the medical community.

The cause of Vulvodynia is still uncertain. Many Vulvodynia patients seem to have some common factors such as: past sexual trauma or abuse, past large scale urinary tract or yeast infections and trouble having sexual intercourse. However, there are some patients who do not fit any of these molds.

Since Vulvodynia has few visible signs, the average person diagnosed will seek medical help on average from one month to two years before finding the correct help to truly manage their pain. Many women give up hope before diagnosis after being rejected or told “it is all in your head” by respected doctors, nurses and hospital staff who are simply uneducated about this illness. Many women will also be misdiagnosed with conditions such as urinary tract infections, yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, kidney stones, sexually transmitted diseases and kidney diseases while searching for help. Many times when wrong medications are given for these conditions that do not exist in the patient, the woman’s Vulvodynia symptoms actually worsen.

There is also said to be an under reporting of this condition. Up to 18% of all women will experience some low grade symptoms of Vulvodynia in their lifetime, but do not seek help because they are embarrassed. Usually those who do seek help and are eventually diagnosed correctly are the more serious cases: women who have been having vaginal pain for a month to a year that is so high on the pain scale it interferes with all of their daily activities.

What Vulvodynia is NOT:

Although Vulvodynia can be debilitating at times it’s important for the public to understand that Vulvodynia is NOT a sexually transmitted disease, infection or cancer. It is also not contagious.


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