Vulvodynia - Symptoms, causes and treatment

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Vulvodynia - Symptoms, causes and treatment
Vulvodynia - Symptoms, causes and treatment

Vulvodynia is pain that occurs in the vulva, the outermost part of the female genital organs. Vulvodynia causes a painful sensation, such as burning, stabbing, or heat, in the vulva that causes discomfort

Vulvodynia can be experienced by women of all ages. The pain may occur occasionally or persist for more than 3 months. Vulvodynia will make it difficult for sufferers to have sexual intercourse. This condition can also increase anxiety and trigger depression.

Vulvodynia - Alodokter

Vulvodynia Type

Vulvodynia is divided into 2 types, namely:

  • General vulvodynia, which is pain in several areas of the vulva at different times. Pain in the vulva can occur intermittently or continuously. Touch can make the pain worse.
  • Local vulvodynia, which is pain in one area of ​​the vulva. The pain that appears is usually triggered by touch or pressure, such as during sexual intercourse or sitting for too long.

Cause of Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia is not contagious and is not caused by an infection or sexually transmitted disease. The exact cause of vulvodynia is not known. However, there are several factors that are thought to be related and can trigger the appearance of vulvodynia, namely:

  • Injury, irritation, or damage to the nerves around the vulva
  • History of vaginal infections
  • Allergies or sensitive skin
  • hormone changes
  • muscle spasms or weakness of the pelvic floor muscles
  • History of sexual harassment or previous trauma

Vulvodynia Symptoms

Vulvodynia symptoms can appear suddenly or last for months to years. Vulvodynia will be characterized by the appearance of an uncomfortable sensation in the vulva that can be felt such as:

  • The burning feeling
  • Pain
  • Stinging or prickling feeling
  • Pain during sexual intercourse or dyspareunia
  • Itchiness

In some women with vulvodynia, the vulva may appear slightly inflamed or swollen. However, in most cases, the vulva looks normal more often.

When to see a doctor

Consult a doctor if you experience pain in the genital area. These symptoms can be early symptoms of vulvodynia. If the symptoms occur repeatedly and get worse, it is recommended to see a doctor immediately.

Patients who have been diagnosed with vulvodynia are advised to undergo regular treatment to help manage pain and prevent complications.

Vulvodynia Diagnosis

To diagnose vulvodynia, the doctor will ask questions about the symptoms and complaints experienced as well as the patient's medical history.

Next, the doctor will examine the vulva and vaginal areas. The doctor may take a sample from the vagina to make sure that the symptoms are not due to an infection or a disorder of the skin and genital area.

Doctors can also do a cotton swab test. This test is performed by applying gentle pressure to the vulva area to assess the severity of the pain.

If there are sores, lumps, or discoloration on the vulva, the doctor can perform a biopsy. This examination is done by taking a sample of vulvar tissue to be examined under a microscope, so that abnormal tissue is known.

Vulvodynia Treatment

Vulvodynia treatment is different for each patient. Treatment is done to reduce the pain and discomfort felt. Your doctor may be able to suggest a combination of treatments to get the best results.


Drugs used include:

  • Antidepressant and anticonvulsant drugs, to treat nerve pain
  • Ointment, such as creams and ointments containing anesthetics to relieve pain
  • Nerve block, which is an injection drug that can interfere with the signals that send pain from the nerves to the brain


Therapies carried out include:

  • Physical therapy, to strengthen the pelvic muscles and reduce muscle spasms with a number of exercises
  • Biofeedback, to help you relax the vaginal muscles to reduce pain
  • TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), to help relieve pain using low-voltage electric current
  • Counseling, to restore self-confidence and overall quality of life, especially since vulvodynia can affect the quality of sexual relations


The operation is carried out using the vestibulectomy method, which is a surgical procedure to remove tissue in the area where the patient feels pain. This procedure can be useful for women with localized vulvodynia. Vestibulectomy may also be an option if other treatments have not worked.


There are several treatments that can be done independently at home to relieve pain due to vulvodynia, including:

  • Using cooling gel to compress the vulva
  • Doing sitz baths 2-3 times a day using warm or cold water with Epsom s alts or colloidal oatmeal for 5-10 minutes
  • Clean the vulva area gently with clean water and dry it with a towel
  • Using lubricants when having sex, but avoid lubricating products that contain alcohol, flavorings, heating and cooling agents
  • Use a soft seat if you have to sit for a long time to reduce pressure on the vulva area
  • Manage stress in a positive way and get enough rest

Vulvodynia complications

Vulvodynia can cause several complications, including:

  • Pain in the vulva when having sex or activities
  • Fear of having sex
  • Vaginismus or spasms in the muscles around the vagina
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Relationship problems
  • Decreased quality of life

Vulvodynia Prevention

The exact cause of vulvodynia is not known, so it is quite difficult to prevent it. However, lifestyle changes are believed to reduce the risk of this condition.

Some of the steps that can be taken to help prevent vulvodynia from occurring are:

  • Using detergents that have been tested to be safe on the skin when cleaning underwear
  • Using unscented toilet paper
  • Wearing cotton underwear
  • Avoid using creams or soaps that contain fragrances on the vagina
  • Do not soak in hot pools or pools that contain a lot of chlorine
  • Always rinse the vulva with water after urinating and having sex
  • Wear loose pants or skirts and avoid stockings as much as possible
  • Keeps the vulva dry by avoiding prolonged sitting in wet bathing suits or damp clothes

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