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Vulvodynia is chronic pain in the area around the opening of your vagina (vulva) for which there is no identifiable cause.  Some theories regarding the cause of vulvodynia include:

● An injury or irritation to the nerves of the vulva
● An Abnormal response to trauma or injury to the vulva
● Genetic factors
● Hypersensitivity to yeast/allergies
● Spasm of the pelvic floor muscles
● Changing estrogen levels


There is no definitive test to diagnose vulvodynia.  Instead, your healthcare will first try to rule out other causes of vulvar pain.  A careful assessment of medical history and a physical exam which may include vaginal cultures, biopsy, Q-tip test, and/or colposcopy of the vulva is critical.  Most women with vulvodynia have normal appearing vulvas/vaginas.  However, pressure to the area may cause more pain than is normal.


There is no cure for vulvodynia, however there are several treatments which may help to relieve symptoms.  It usually takes time to find a treatment or combination of treatments that will decrease or alleviate the pain.  Current treatment options include:

● Local anesthetic ointment (xylocaine jelly)
● Tricyclic antidepressants (amitryptyline, nortriptyline, desipramine)
● Anticonvulsants (tegretol, neurontin)
● Antihistamines (hydroxyzine)
● Topical estrogen cream (premarin or estrace cream)
● Nerve blockades
● Diet modification (low oxalate diet, calcium citrate)
● Pelvic floor therapy/Physical therapy
● Accupuncture
● Surgery (localized removal of painful area)

If you think you may have vulvodynia, consult your healthcare provider for further information, diagnosis, and treatment.

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