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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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Hi! I have been suffering with a condition called Pudendal Neuralgia after having a colonoscopy in September 2007. My symptoms started in my vulva and was at first diagnosed with vulvadynia. Amitriptyline did relief the soreness and pain slightly but still couldn't sit down without pain, wear underwear or tight clothing. Whilst looking up vulvadynia on the internet, I found another site with regards to Pudendal nerve entrapment/Neuralgia. This site described my symptoms and lifestyle to a T. This problem can affect men and women. My GP and all consultants I was seeing had heard of the pudendal nerve but were unaware of this condition. This condition can be brought on by child birth, excessive exercise (cycling or running) as well as long term constipation. I have just finished having pudendal nerve blocks at the UCLH pain management clinic in London. The doctors there know a lot about this condition and completely understand you. The CT scan blocks did give me a few days of relief. There are other treatments they can offer, I haven't quite got there yet. I have just seen my bowel specialist today and he thinks he has seen why I am having bowel problems (Constipation). I have a weak area of my pelvic floor and my small intestine is prolapsing and pushing on my rectum area. He thinks this is also causing compression of the pudendal nerve. At last, after two years of bouncing around different GP's and consultants, I have finally got a diagnosis which will hopefully cure both problems. My advice to all you nerve suffers is to research your problems and keep going back to your GP until you get referred to the right person to help you. If you haven't been referred to a pain clinic please ask your GP, they can refer you for nerve block injections. These injections may not last long but it is a step in the right direction to get better pain relief or a diagnosis. I hope this information helps some of you.





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Katie it doesnt sound like vulvodynia, but tell your mum or go to the doctors. it could just be growing pains or something like that.





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Hello ladies, I started suffering about five years ago. I had to stop sex for about six months and then had it only intermittantly for a year due to it being very sore. I got diagnosed at a GUM clinic because I had no idea what the problem was to start with and had never heard of it. It started after I had thrush and used some creams - I don't know if the thrush triggered it or a reaction to the creams. Now when I get a thrush flare up I just smear a bit of yoghurt on there and it clears it up real quick - the lactobacillus in the yoghurt outcompete the thrush and bring your microflora levels back to normal. With regards to the vulval pain (I was told mine was called vestibulitis due to the area affected) I am a lot better than I used to be through a combination of using the amintryptyline (sorry spelling is prob not right) tablets (but these make you drowsy) and pelvic floor exercises (keep at it, it takes a couple of months). Now I can have sex again, except straight after my period when I am sore again. I use the Natracare sanitary pads and loose clothing - this helps too. Good luck ladies - I hope you find some relief. If you haven't seen a doctor yet then go go go - don't suffer in silence - they are there to help and have seen it all. :-)





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reading all the comments makes me feel better as it does tend to feel like you are alone with this. for about 2 years (i am 25 years old) or so i have now had 'painful sex', and was diagnosed finally about 5 months ago with vulvodynia. the lidocaine gel did nothing, and i was on 100mg amytriptiline daily...that may have helped the pain a tiny bit, but i have put on masses of weight and it played havoc with my bowels. i am now nearly off that drug and really dont want to try another tablet as they all have side effects which i hate. my relationship is at at breaking point...vulvodynia being at the centre of it. i have been to about 3 psychology sessions which i have not got on with at all. this is wearing me down and i just dont know how it all started...i used to have a normal and enjoyable sex life :(





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i'm 14 and I don't know whether it's the same thing but i get a shooting pain down the outer lip and it really hurts. I haven't told anyone but It hurts really bad. help!!!!





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Hi I completely sympathise with nathalie, to have this awful condition at such a young age. I agree more should be done about it but it such a silent condition and very little is known about it.I agree it makes you feel suidcidal, i only hope that my daughter does not suffer with it. I am waiting for acupuncture on the nhs now,the only thing that really eases is EMLA cream have you tried that it isnt a cure but does relieve the itching for a while.I wish there was a support group available so that sufferers could help each other.





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I have been suffering from labia sores for nearly 3 years. I have had the talk about soaps and cotton underwear. I have had a biopsy on of them but still no relief. I wash with dermol 500 but my trigger is heat.I get very sweaty in that area and on top of that periods make you moist aswell.Nobody understands that when these sores appear I find walking and even sitting uncomfortable.After a while the sores bleed and disappear but not for long.Could anyone advise me.I am an Endometriosis sufferer and have had kidney probs which i can cope with but the sores are the last straw!





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Hi all, I have been suffereing with this horrible condition for five years now and I am only 23. It was like one day I was fine and the next day I was completely miserable. It's scary how fast it can come on. I was seriously suicidal and just couldn't bare the idea of living my whole life like this. I felt my life was over at age 18. I think there are multiple causes of vulvodynia and I think some may be due to yeast or something my body is producing. I think the pain can be caused by chronic yeast infections or you are allergic to whatever your body is producing. I mostly have itcing, but also burning and stinging. However a Tibetan doctor (I was desperate to try anything)She told me to put gauze up in that area, like tucked up in there so there isn't to much movement which can cause irritation. I felt that having this gauze absorbed the mucus and discharge coming out which I think was causing an allergic reaction or keeping the yeast out of my vulva which causes irritation. Though it isn't completely better, it has helped and I can function more normally and am not as depressed. I just knew I couln't go on the way I was before and something had to cause some relief. All I can say is that us women have to help eachother because it is a condition that is just not getting recognized or studied. We are pretty much on our own because there are more serious, deadly condions out there that need to be researched. This really gets to me because this condition is horrible and if it causes woman to be suicidal and not be able to funtion in life they should figure out a cure or some kind of relief!!!! Stay strong!





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I have suffered with vulvodynia for over three years now. I was only diagnosed a little under a year ago but I have been making good progress. One of the things that has really helped me is pelvic floor exercises. You find that when you are in pain, you tense your muscles, which only makes it worse. So, as bizarre as it sounds, insert your figure into your vagina and clench around it for 10 seconds, then really concentrate on releasing and relaxing your muscles. do this about 4 times a day. To be honest, it took months before I noticed it getting any better so keep at it. I also 'massage' the muscles in a swooping action to 'desensitise' the area. Stress seems to aggrevate it so i do yoga every week and i fid even accupuncture helps to relax me. And another piece of advice, which i found the hardest do follow, try not to think about it! Easier said than done when you are in chronic pain but it will only drive you crazy. If you're feeling really bad, talk to someone about it. Don't suffer alone.





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oh Kirsty, i know exactly how you feel babe, this has almost ruined my life! i lost two stone in two months, couldnt sleep, suffered with anxiety big time. again i was going back to the docs every week! i have just had a funny time with it this week, i have been in tears and its all i can think about. its soo unfair to see women all happy and knowing that their bits are ok and mine arent. but its got better ast the mo and i feel normal (until the next time). i am currently 20 weeks pregnant and i am determined to get this burning and rawness out of my head! i am going to give this aloe vera a go though. if that does work, amputation seems like a good idea. my mum is brilliant and she is true in saying things can be so much worse, and they can. but to me this is the worst thing ever and i just want to be a normal 23 yr old.





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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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