Vulvodynia: Irritated Nerve Endings Cause Painful Sex
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Vulvodynia: Irritated Nerve Endings Cause Painful Sex

Vulvodynia is an extremely painful condition of the genital area. The pain may be throbbing, stabbing, or prickling in nature. Some women may also experience itching. Doctors don’t exactly know what causes vulvodynia. Sometimes women who have suffered sexual abuse as children have developed this disorder, but most women who have this debilitating condition have no history of sexual abuse. Read on to learn more about vulvodynia.

I was inspired to write this article after watching an episode of Strange Sex on TLC (The Learning Channel).

The young woman telling her story on that episode confessed that she did have a history of sexual abuse as a child, but chose not to talk about it on the program.

She said that sex has always been painful. She got married knowing that sex would be painful. She admitted that in order to be sexual with her husband she had to use a topical numbing medication. She said it was still extremely painful, but the numbing agent would sometimes make the experience tolerable.

Her husband was in the military; he was deployed to Iraq. She wanted to try a surgical procedure which was to make her pain go away. Unfortunately, the surgery didn't work.

What is vulvodynia?

Quite literally, vulvodynia refers to chronic pain in the vulva. There is no known cause for this disorder. Most women suffering from vulvodynia find it difficult, and almost impossible to have sexual relations.

Symptoms of vulvodynia

The symptoms of vulvodynia include severe itching, burning, throbbing or stabbing pain at the opening of the vagina and surrounding areas. Women having this disorder may also experience discomfort sitting for long periods. Gynecological examinations are also nearly unbearable.

The pain of vulvodynia may be a constant companion for some women and intermittent with others.

There is no known cause of vulvodynia. It is believed that vaginal irritations and infections could predispose some women to having this painful disorder. Some women with a history of sexual abuse also have this disorder. It is believed that past child abide can cause permanent nerve irritation. It is also possible that the pain associated with vulvodynia can be created by memories of the pain of being hurt sexually as a child. However, most women who suffer from this disorder have no history of child abuse.

Treatment for vulvodynia

Treatment of vulvodynia is individualized, because there is no one treatment that will help all women with the disorder.

Some women suffering from vulvodynia are helped by having a nerve block done. Biofeedback is also sometimes helpful. Learning how to relax your pelvic muscles can also benefit some women.

For women suffering from this disorder, sex is a process. There will be times when the couple can complete the sexual act, and there will be times when it is just too painful for the woman and both partners will need to wait for another time. In other words, the sexual partners must be patient. There may be several attempts before the couple can successfully make love.


Strange Sex episode on vulvodynia on TLC

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Comments (4)

Sounds like a horrible condition, thanks for raising awareness and providing information on this issue.

For certain this would be a hard thing for some women to talk about let alone try to get help for.

How terrible, I haven't heard of this before. I hope that lady has found some kind of solution to her problem.  

Thanks everyone. The woman in the story had surgery but it was unsuccessful. She has to use a numbing agent and still with that she gages her pain at a 6 from a scale of 0 to 10.