WARNING: The Embarrassing Bodies website contains images of an explicit medical nature and nudity in a medical context.

Embarrassing Bodies Down Under, 11:55pm Tuesday 25th November 2014 on More 4. Catch up for free on 4oD »

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.

You can share your experiences and thoughts with other Embarrassing Bodies site-users below. Comments & Questions are reviewed by moderators, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
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.

I have very large labia, it embarasses me loads as when i am in the gym changing rooms as you can see a bulge in my underwear. Also, when i have sex my boyfriend he doesnt like how it looks so he often looks away while im sorting us out down there. Is there anything i can do which is not surgery related to reduce the size? Please help, this is really embarassing.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

hi im 30 every time i take the hair away from down below it hurts and dont like haveing hair.If i use wax it hurts my scar (c section scar)if i use a razor that hurts all over ive used all differnt hair cream removers and when its on its fine but then after i take it off its as if its burnt just at the bottom on the left side lip ive i dont no what to use or what to do as ive tryed a lot of things and im not getting anywhere can you help??





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I have had this problem for a number of years and it has been driving me crazy and makes me feel very low. My doctor who is very proactive is determined to help me and all concerned have come to the conclusing that it is vulvadynia. My doctor and I have tried many treatments including amtryptiline which made me feel a bit out of it. I have found some relief by doing certain things myself such as not using soap or anything else in my vaginal area and non-perfumed baby softwash on the rest of my body, have a final cool rinse in the shower, washing my hair with my head bent over so as the shampoo does not run down my body, using vaseline to stop irration with clothes and M45 on the rest of my body including the inside of the legs, washing my clothes in a mild detergent and using eco conditioner but also giving my underware a clear rinse after the wash, 100% cotton underwear, non-perfumed toilet paper, rinse after having a wee, clothes that are not too tight, no underware in bed, often walk around in my dressing gown without underwear. I am also currently on a tablet called Neurontin, on the max dose for a month to see how that goes, it seems to have eased the worst of it at the moment, don't think it will ever actually go but I feel a little more normal. Fortunately for me I am not in a relationship at the moment so don't have the added pain of sex. Good Luck to you all and hope the above is of some help.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Carrying on from my last post -Having read all the comments throughly, i was wondering if as one of the ladies said 15%of women have it then it would be great to talk to some of the 15% as i have yet to meet anyonme who had this, have tried various websites but with no success. I look at women who wear lovely jeans and think "you havent got it cos you wouldn't wear those if you did" I am so limited to what i can wear now my wardrobe has had to be completely changed. My whole life is now very different, i most certainly dont enjoy life like i used to.this 'illness' is incredibly embarrassing and very depressing, as one of the doctors told me - you have got it for life- great





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

i have suffered with vulvodynia for years & am sorry to say that i have not found any cure, i am now on gabapentin but it doesnt seem to do anything,I feel very depressed with this emabarrasing condition. I am lucky to have a very supporting husband, but do wonder if i will ever feel better.I would like to get in touch with women who also suffer with this to see how they cope with it.i feel like i am going mad some days.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

i have been suffering from stinging and itching around my vagina for a few months now. my boyfriend and i have not been able to have proper sex for a good 6 months as it is just too painful for me and the pain can last for hours afterwards, making it sore to urinate and even sit down. i consulted my doctor because i started bleeding from a small rash around the wall of my vagina and he treated me for thrush and i have started using 'fem fresh' wash, but the pain is still there and i cannot have sex. could it be an sti or something less erious?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I too am so relieved to know that I am not alone as it is something which is hard to talk to friends about -I'm also shocked at how many women this affects. I'm 36 and have been mis diagnosed with Thrush for around 15 years -I have had more diflucan capsules than hot dinners ! Some Gps say I have Thrush on examination, others say I don't which has been very confusing. I have the burning sensations a lot of the time especially before my period & painful sex mostly on entry. 3 years ago my Gp referred me to a Gyne who diagnosed Vulvodynia & on examiniation could see a sensitive area which would cause painful sex yet She said it was in my mind and if I wanted it to be better it would be ! ? Very confusing ! I was prescribed a %lignocaine gel which I found impossible to find which numbs the area before sex & told about Amitriptline. I left things as was not in relationship thinking no pressure may sort things out on their own -3 years later & I still have burning pain sex or no sex. My GP has prescribed 10% Amitriptline which I am about to start on & I'm about to start the low Oxalate diet which I heard about on this site so we will see. I only told one man I was in a relationship with about it 2 months in & he seemed to think it was a relationship breaker & couldn't see how we would ever get past it long term ! Obviously this ended things & it has left me very sad for future relationships as it is a condition which I have no control over.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I am writing this because i was really moved by the case of Alison, i think her name is, the newly wed on your show this week who i'm guessing has vulvodynia. Hopefully it will also be of use to other people too. I had vulvodynia for around five years in my mid 20's. It took ages to diagnose, being alternately misdiagnosed as thrush or cystitus. Eventually i was put on anti-depressants intended as pain killers, which did not work at all. I tried the 'numbing' injections at the pain clinic, all these did was make me a bit loopy. I tried couselling to no avail. I tried a local homeopath and a local acupuncturist, to no avail. Eventually i insisted to my GP that i come off the tablets, which i did gradually. Then, tablets out of my system, i went to see a top acupuncturist, Dr.Deng, at the Asante Academy of Chinese Medicine, part of Middlesex University, London. I went regularly for around 4 months, receiving acupuncture, and following her dietry advice along with herbal pills. The results have been fantastic, and absolutely life changing. This was a few years ago, i've had one mini-flare-up since which i got straight under control with a few more visits to the acupuncturist. Prior to meeting Dr Deng, almost all the other health practitioners i saw were, although mostly sympathetic, usually baffled by my condition. Dr Deng was very familiar with it, and i no longer felt like i was imagining it all. I would add that my treatment was helped by the conditions in my life- i quit a job i hated, took time off, did things i was really proud of, felt good about myself. Get these things sorted out first. So i strongly recommend the Asante academy to anyone suffering with vulvodynia. For me it has been a lifesaver.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I was told that I have Vulvodynia by my GP after 3 years of tests, and no results. I have acute pain in my clitoris, with a sore vagina, and the pain often goes into my lower abdomen as well as down my legs. I have attacks on and off now , after suffering for about 4 months at one stage. I cannot take Amytryptiline as I have a heart condition, and sleeping tabs have to be carefully monitored as I get extreme reactions as if I am stoned !!! (not good at work the next day !) I have found that Calendula cream helps with the pain, but apart from that I just suffer in silent misery as it seems do many others.I think I will go back to my GP and have another moan, though sympathetic, he can do little it seems. Night is the worst, oh for a sleeping draft that when I wake won't make me feel as if I had a night on the tiles ! Thanks for all the other comments, at least I feel there are others out there who can know what it's like to suffer.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Please help!! When I was 14 I began to hav SERVERE pains mainly in the lower left of my stomache, sometimes on the right side too. When this happened I could not move until it passed as it hurt so much. I got referred to the hospital, at first they thought it was my appendix but the pain was in my left side not my right so this got ruled out, and after running many tests got told by a nurse that I must be faking it because I must be geting bullied at school and was therefore wasting the hospitals time. I could not believe this and was affraid to go back to the doctor for many years. The pain happened at random times, more common if I was due on my period but it would go away for months and then accure and then go away again. (This is still the case today but not as bad). I am now 20 and have only slept with 2 people. My 1st boyfriend was when I was 17 and I was with him for 8months and intercourse was normal and pain free until the end of our relationship and I started to get a slight pain. A long time later I started seeing my current boyfriend (who I have been with for over 2years now) and for a long time intercourse was fine. Once the pain began it got worse and worse. Once he inserted his penis and began penatration I felt a burning sensation and as though I suddenly became very tight! It is very uncomfortable and sometimes if I fight through the pain, the pain goes for a short time and sex is enjoyable, however, this causes the burning feeling to persist and worsen for a while after sex. Before now it has caused bleeding as I've tried to continue. Sometimes he can't insert his penis at all as it hurts no matter how gental he is, and I am very swollen and too tight. I went to my doctor and she told me I HAD and STI and didn't believe it was anything else. I got tested and was clear, as I thought. I kept having a lot of swelling in my stomache and no matter what I ate it was swollen. A doctor told me it was to do with when I ate, my intestings spazemned and that caused my stomache to swell. This has also caused problems such as constipation so I have been on tablets for IBS (eventhough I was tested and the results came back saying I don't have it) I am unsure whether these tablets are actually working or not, and when I go back to the doctor, they just prescribe them to me again! I still have problems now and though I have been to the doctors VERY regularly over the last 18months they keep telling me nothing is wrong! I have been on the pill since after my 1st boyfriend (as I had bad periods) and have stayed on it since so I do not think that has had any effect. I found trying to eat really healthy, lots of fruits and vegtables, non-fatty foods does help. During Christmas time the pain completely disappeared and it was great (I don't know why).. but it can back! It has't been as bad since and I am convinced eating better is helping, but I don't know how to make it go away. I'm so desperate!! My boyfriend is so supportive and has tried to help me find different ways to stop the pain but nothing works. I have been to different doctors and nurses at my surgery at home as well as different ones at university and everytime I say it hurts when I have sex I get told that it must be because of IBS so my stomache swells and thats why it is painful. I'm sure this is not it, PLEASE can anyone suggest what this might be and how I can treat it!!?????????????? Thank you for reading :) .





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.



Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

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





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.



Please don't swear or be rude in your questions, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting questions. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines


Important Notice

The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.


If you want to embed our videos in your site, read our embedding T&Cs here


More Information

  1. Am I Normal Vagina

    In Videos - Dr Dawn Harper discusses what is and isn't normal when it comes to…

  2. Am I Normal Periods

    In Videos - Dr Dawn Harper discusses all matters relating to periods and what i…

  3. Am I Normal Penis

    In Videos - Dr Dawn Harper discusses what is and isn't normal when it comes to…

  4. Doctor Responses: Polycystic Ovaries

    In Videos - Dr Dawn discusses the causes and treatments available for PCOS, as…

  5. Am I Normal?

    In Episodes - Episode 2 of Embarrassing Teenage Bodies looks at conditions includ…

  6. Doctor Responses: Diabetes

    In Videos - Dr Dawn Harper answers your common questions about coping with diab…

  7. Dr Dawn Harper

    In Videos - Find out more about Dr Dawn Harper

  8. Doctor Responses: Pelvic Floor Problems

    In Videos - Dr Dawn answers common questions from women regardng the pelvic floor.

  9. Doctor Responses: Foot Problems

    In Videos - Dr Dawn aims to keep your feet healthy by answering the most popula…

  10. Doctor Responses: OCD

    In Videos - Dr Pixie answers your most common questions on the tricky subject o…

  11. Doctor Responses: Eczema and Skin Conditions

    In Videos - Dr Dawn advises on the most common questions sent in to the Embarra…

  12. Doctor Responses: Night Terrors

    In Videos - Dr Dawn answers your most common questions about night terrors and…

  13. Quick Health Advice: Unwanted Facial Hair

    In Videos - Dr Harper explains the causes of unwanted facial hair and some of t…

  14. Doctor Responses: Female Sexual Dysfunction

    In Videos - Dr Dawn frankly and honestly answers your questions about female se…

  15. Bodies Behaving Badly

    In Episodes - Episode 1 of Embarrassing Teenage Bodies examines conditions includ…


Help Beat Cancer

Download our free mobile game to help Reverse The Odds in the fight against cancer.

Available on App Store, Google Play and Amazon App Store >