Vaginal Pain (Vulvodynia) (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
In this Article
- Vaginal pain and vulvodynia facts
- What are vaginal pain and vulvodynia?
- What causes vaginal pain and/or vulvodynia?
- What symptoms are characteristic of vaginal pain and vulvodynia?
- What are risk factors for vaginal pain and vulvodynia?
- What diagnostic tests are used to evaluate vaginal pain and vulvodynia?
- How are vaginal pain and vulvodynia treated?
- Medications and other medical therapies for vaginal pain and vulvodynia
- Home remedies for vaginal pain and vulvodynia
- What are the complications of vaginal pain and vulvodynia?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) for vaginal pain and vulvodynia?
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
What causes vaginal pain and/or vulvodynia?
It is unclear why some women develop vulvodynia. It is not thought to be related to sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), although some women with vulvodynia have had multiple STDs. Some theories suggest that vulvodynia may be related to damage or irritation of nerves, abnormal responses to irritation or inflammation, allergic reactions, muscle spasms, a history of sexual abuse, or frequent use of antibiotics. Familial or genetic factors have also been suggested to play a role in vulvodynia. Unfortunately, the exact cause has not been determined and most women have no known contributing factors.
What symptoms are characteristic of vaginal pain and vulvodynia?
Symptoms of vulvodynia include pain that can be perceived as burning or stinging. The pain may also have an aching or throbbing nature. Sometimes, itching is associated with the pain.
The pain may be constant or it may come and go. It can occur during certain activities including sex or exercise. It may also occur at rest. Some women report pain that is localized to one side or one area of the vulva, while others have more generalized and widespread pain.
There are usually no physical signs or changes that accompany vulvodynia, but sometimes there is evidence of inflamed skin.
What are risk factors for vaginal pain and vulvodynia?
Since the cause is poorly understood, it is difficult to predict who is at risk for vulvodynia. It can affect women of all ages and races. It can begin as early as adolescence and can occur both before and after menopause.
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