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Conditions

Vulvodynia

Vaginas

This unpleasant condition causes chronic pain and discomfort in the vulval area, with the most common symptoms including stinging, burning, irritation and rawness. The condition can vary in severity; for some they experience only mild discomfort, but for others it can severely inhibit their normal lives and prevent enjoyment of sexual activities. There are treatments available, including anti-depressant and anti-convulsant drugs, but there are also creams and gels that can be applied to help with the pain. With up to 15% of women suffering with this condition, you can be sure that you’re not alone, and your GP will be able to help.

Comments and Questions

The EB doctors have been looking at your comments and have answered some of the common questions below. Remember that it is always best to check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.

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Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

Help! I dont know if this is what I have but it sounds very similar. The only difference is that the skin around my clitoris is peeling off which is leaving me in serious discomfort! I havn't yet been to the doctors as I have been so embarrased. It isn't there all the time but I do have it once a month for about two weeks which is killing my sex life. Please help!





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I have been having terrible pain in the lower abdomen,it has been feeling hot and swollen inside my vagina as well. After passing water, it really stings badly. My vulva area looks red,stings and is very sore. My doctor has given me three lots of antibiotics,which have not worked. Luckily. i was due to see my gaeny after having my ovaries removed, therefore i mentioned this problem to him. I came out wanting to cry, as he told me it was all in my head, and that i was probably stressed. I dont know what do do now, can anyone help me?





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after watching the program & feeling that i could relate to many of the problems raised i thought i would post about changes i've made & the few things that have helped me......toilet paper! honestly! think about it, we wipe all the time....i know now that if i use andrex i will be sore, using non bleached / nature friendly ones are best for me. i first started down this route as i found that my problems became worse during my period & so worked out which sanitary towels caused the most irritation (tampons? god no! OWWW!) i use a non-bleached towel i also started using a 'moon cup' (not quite as hippyish as it sounds!) which was a slight improvement. obviously blood is an irritant for me as now my periods have decreased (due to having a coil fitted) my flare ups have decreased also. sex can be a problem but rinsing using plain warm water helps. i also know that i can only use pears soap, most others (including fragrance free brands etc) make me sore as do ANY feminine wipes! these things help me...if they help anyone else, i'll be very glad.





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l have found putting the tens machine on my inner thighs is brilliant. lt really has worked for me.





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I'm post memonpausal and had been suffering for years. As the above comments some doctors were lovely others just plain rude. My job made me travel a lot and/or sat in a office all day. A combination of sex with my partner, a shower and day driving in the car was disastrous. I seemed to be allergic to many of the creams the doctors gave me or suggested. Callendula oil helped lubrication but afterwards made me itch. After trawling the web and buying some rubbish stuff, I also found Bio-Fem Instant Active Gel - can be sourced from larger Boots. I find it the most helpful and the most effective for external feelings - I used to have to drink galleons all the time and visit the loo regularly as the sensation made me feel I needed to go. Its not totally cured the internal barbed wire effect however although even this has improved. I feel really guilty for my partner who is desparate for me to enjoy sex rather than tolerated it for him. I was prescribed the low dose anti-depressant but that just seemed to numb mind and body and I lost all libido. Diligently using bio fem following intercourse, or a bath and also when I can feel tingling below has definitely helped me. As I've rejected using the prescribed anti-depressants and seen the specialists at the local hospital twice, I feel a bit on my own now and at a loss to know what to do but I'll also try some things that have been mentioned above you never know. I would be nice to be able to wear jeans every day without worrying that I should wear them two days on the trot just in case.





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I was eventually diagnosed with vulvodynia about 3 years ago after seeing many diferent gynacologists. I had been prescribed so many different creams for thrush that I could open a pharmacy! I, too, had been told that this pain and burning was all in my head until I finally saw a fantastic gynacologist who straight away told me that I had vylvodynia. It was a relief to know that I wasn't going crazy. I have tried all the creams and for me these only aggravate the condition. The anti-depressants didn't ease the pain at all. I do find that it flares up more before my period so was interested to read about the oestrogen. I have reconciled it in my head now and realise that I just have to live with it. I do have an amazingly supportive husband which helps enormously but I feel very guilty that our love life has suffered so much because of this condition. I am sorry that I do not have anything positive to add or a miracle cure.





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I've been suffering from this condition for 5 years and after finding out what it was, which took 6 months and about 10 different doctors, I got a proper diagnosis. I went to my local family planning clinic in the end and found a great doctor. I now have it under control and the symptoms are practically gone. I started taking 25mg of amtryptiline an anti-depressant at night which I have now reduced to 10mg. I could feel the effects within a couple of weeks. This medication is great and takes away all the pain for me, the only side effect is feeling a bit tired when you start taking the pills but this passes. Hope this helps someone.





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Oh my god, after years of feeling like a 'freak' I now feel I am not alone after reading this page. I have always had pain during and after sex, though it has got worse and worse over the years. I've split up with partners over it and spiralled into depression. I get pain like a paper cut that is agony when the water in the shower flows over it. After sex it burns and burns so much and swells to 3x it's normal size. Even on a day to day basis it can hurt like mad and itches so bad that I have to scratch for England. Not only this but I get the same burning feeling, almost like a coil of barbed wire being twisted inside me on the front wall of my vagina. I was referred to a gynaecologist who said I needed an operation to stretch my internal muscles. The (male) Dr made quite perverted comments to me and I felt so uncomfortable. The operation didn't work and after he saw me again he ended up screaming in my face 'it's in your head girl! You've wasted my time!' which obviously really helped, not. I got sent to a physiotherapist to do pelvic floor exercises which to be honest, really wasn't the problem. So I discharged myself and as I was now single I decided I would stay that way and therefore never have to worry about it again. But obviously this was a little naive of me. I am now engaged to the most wonderful man in the world who couldn't be more gentle or caring, however our sex life is non-existent and I feel like a failure because he deserves so much better. Not only is it near on impossible to have sex, I don't even want it anymore. I literally have zero sex drive. So I am now seeing a psychosexual counsellor because I want to know it's NOT in my head. I've had STI checks done when there was no chance I had one because I was so worried I must have something wrong. The counselling is helping so far (I'm only 2 sessions in) and I feel like I'm doing something positive for once which is probably half of the battle. However I am still convinced that there is something wrong because the pain happens even when I've not had sex. It even hurts to use a tampon. But besides the pain, the worst aspect is the isolation I feel. It's not something you can openly discuss with your mates at work is it?? So I keep it to myself and pretend everything's fine when in reality, it's far from it. I am getting married next year and I want to have this problem solved by then....I really am at my wits end. It would be so helpful to hear people's experiences and advice on what works/doesn't work for them. Thanks for reading.





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Dont know if any of your blogs refer to the Vulva Pain Society website which has lots of useful information, groups and workshops. I asked for a referral to Wythenshawe pain clinic and have been receiving treatment for around three years. This consists of injections in the vulva area periodically. I also take gabapentin alongside these.





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I followed your shows advice and went for STD test today. I was given two vaginal swabs which I used myself and gave them back to the nurse afterwards. Immediately upon using the 2nd shorter swab (orange one for chlamydia and gonorea) I experience a severe burning sensation. I was told to keep the swab in place for 10 secs then remove and put in tube. I asked the nure if there was acid on the cotton bud, but she said no it didn't have anything on it, and asked me if I was allergic to cotton? I've been sore all day since and am bleeding a little. It's also burning when I go to the loo. Is there anything on the swabs that could cause this? What should I do?





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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