Vulvodynia

Symptoms of vulvodynia include chronic pain, burning, itching, and/or rawness of the vulva (female genital tissue). This discomfort may involve the entire vulva or only specific areas. The pain may be constant, intermittent, or may be experienced only when the vulva is touched or with penetration (i.e. intercourse or tampon insertion). Vulvodynia is often associated with burning, frequency and urgency of urination when no infection is present. Many women with vulvodynia are misdiagnosed with vaginal infections, HPV (genital wart virus), or herpes. Treatment with most vaginal creams (especially creams containing hydrocortisone), acids such as TCA, laser surgery and most other surgeries can increase pain, sometimes permanently. Many women have been helped by the topical application of Estrace cream, nutritional supplements such as calcium citrate, the low oxalate diet, and biofeedback/physical therapy. The cause of vulvodynia is unknown. Many women with vulvodynia also have fibromyalgia.

LINKS

Center of Vulvar Diseases — a division of the University of Michigan Medical Center’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Some of the best information on the web on this topic.

National Vulvodynia Association — home page for this organization.

The Vulvar Pain Foundation — home page for this organization. Includes detailed information on treatments such as Estrace cream and the low oxalate diet.

Vulvodynia.com — Dr. Howard Glazer’s site, home page of a vulvodynia listserv as well as live chats on vulvar pain issues. Also includes links, bibliography, and information on biofeedback treatment.

Vulvodynia Information Web Portal — Julie works to obtain permission to publish articles on vulvodynia on the web. Her page is an invaluable resource.

Camilla Cracchiolo’s Home Page is also the home of the Vulvar Pain FAQ, a “must-read” for anyone with vulvodynia.

LISTSERVS

Listservs are email discussion groups and are an invaluable resource to anyone with vulvodynia. They offer support and information from other women who understand and in doing so, they help combat the isolation most women with vulvodynia feel. Please consider joining at least one of the two below.

VulvodyniaList — information on how to join.

The Vulvar Pain Forum — for information on how to join this listserv, email Paige.

BOOKS

A Woman’s Guide to Overcoming Sexual Fear & Pain by Aurelie Jones Goodwin, Ed.D. and Marc E. Agronin, M.D.

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