Vulvodynia

Definition

Vulvodynia is chronic pain or discomfort of the vulva. The vulva includes the:
  • Labia majora and labia minora
  • Clitoris
  • Vaginal opening
Female Genitalia
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Causes

The cause of vulvodynia is not known. Some possibilities include:
  • Injury or irritation of vulvar nerves
  • Inflammed tissue
  • Abnormal response to infection or trauma

Risk Factors

Vulvodynia is more common in women who are younger. Other factors that increase your chance of developing vulvodynia include:
  • History of vulvodynia
  • Chronic pain or disorders associated with chronic pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Some mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Recurrent yeast infections
  • 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

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Pain, which may come and go
  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Irritation
  • Rawness

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. It may include a pelvic exam. The affected area may need to be examined closely. This can be done using a colposcope to magnify the area.Your bodily tissues and fluids may need to be tested. This can be done with:
  • Tests to check for bacteria and/or yeast
  • Biopsy

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