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

Embarrassing Bodies, 2:35am Wednesday 17th September 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 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Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.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

Is there a cream or gel i can get over the counter of a pharmasist?





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 suffer from vulvodynia. I spent six months in discomfort before being diagnosed. I normally suffer with cystitis and get an attack once or twice a year. I was prescribed a really strong antibiotic and got really bad thrush. It seems after that I started getting this burning sensation. My GP couldn't see anything wrong after serval visits and different creams and pills. I finally went to my local GUM clinic where they diagnosed me with having vulvodynia. I'm currently taking 20mg amitriptyline every day and it has seemed to be working until the other day when my husband and I got alittle carried away, because things were feeling better, and now the burning sensation is back. I have always found it slightly painful during intercorse, but with this burning sensation I don't want any of it.But by not have intercorse regularly is it going to get worse when we do? Also are there some lubricants that can irritate it more? I've read the other posted comments and will try some of thing mentioned. Its nice to know I'm not the only one with this condition.





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

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!





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 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?





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

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.





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…


Be On Embarrassing Bodies

The clinic is opening again for a new series.
Apply for Embarrassing Bodies >