| Risk Factors
Vulvodynia is chronic pain or discomfort of the vulva. The vulva includes the:
- Labia—labia majora and labia minora
- Vaginal opening
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The causes of vulvodynia are not completely known, but may include:
- Changes in the vulvar tissue
- Abnormal nerve sensation
Factors that increase your chance of developing vulvodynia include:
- Frequent use of antibiotics
- Irritation to the genitals by soaps or detergents
- Genital rashes
- Previous treatment or surgery to the external genitals
- Pelvic nerve irritation or muscle spasms
- History of sexual abuse
History of sexual
Vulvodynia causes the following symptoms of the vulva:
- Pain, which may come and go
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. It may include a pelvic exam. Tests may include:
Your bodily tissues and fluids may need to be tested. This can be done with:
- Tests to check for bacteria and/or yeast
- The affected area may need to be examined closely. This can be done using a colposcope to magnify the area.
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:
- Medicines to manage pain, such as topical anesthetics, estrogen creams, corticosteroid creams, and steroidal injection
- Medicines to manage pain and irritation, such as tricyclic antidepressants
- Other medicines
Therapy can help you strengthen and relax your pelvic muscles. This will ease muscle spasms. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in pelvic floor issues.
Suggested treatments for vulvodynia include:
- Interferon injections
- Laser treatments
The causes of vulvodynia are not clearly understood. There is no known way to prevent this condition.