The vulva is the outer region of the female genitals, vulvodynia refers to discomfort and pain in this region for at least three months. This condition affects all female age groups by causing sensitivity, irritation or pain, it disrupts daily functions and decreases one’s quality of life. It is also known to affect up to 16% of women. It is not due to aging. There are patients as young as 16 years old to elderly such as 70 years old.
What Causes Vulvodynia?
Information about the causes of vulvodynia is very limited. There are many suspected causes of vulvodynia including inflammation, nerve injuries (neuropathic problems), hormonal alterations, musculoskeletal problems, and genetic factors. Certain approaches such as hormonal creams to be applied to the vulva have been attempted with limited success. Vulvodynia is not uncommon amongst menopausal women.
Symptoms Of Vulvodynia
Redness or Swelling
A Message About Vulvodynia
Vulvodynia is a painful condition ignored by many female patients. After physical examination and investigations with MRI or CT scan, they may all yield normal findings with no abnormality. Doctors may even attribute the patient as a hypochondriac or attention-seeking. Often vulvodynia is recognised as a neuropathic pain condition. It is hypersensitivity of the nerves due to various causes ranging from hormonal derangement to nerve impingement or muscle spasm. A similar model may be a sensitive tooth causing toothache without any tooth decay or crack or gingivitis.
The primary approach is to desensitise the painful nerves to control the pain and rehabilitate the pain threshold of the vulva to become less sensitive. This can be done through pulsed radiofrequency of the nerve plexus supplying the vulva.
Here at Singapore Paincare, our team of experienced primary care doctors and pain care specialists, together with the gynaecologist will conduct a thorough diagnosis. This includes a physical exam, questions about your symptoms and an evaluation of your medical history.
What Treatments Are Available for Vulvodynia?
In many instances, non-surgical treatment methods can provide excellent outcomes. At Singapore Paincare, we strive to treat your pain with the least invasive option possible after accurately identifying the cause. Our pain resolution approach focuses on removing pain generators via specialised injection and minimally invasive procedures. Combined with pharmacological treatments, cognitive and physical rehabilitative therapies. We help patients to improve functions and prevent pain from recurring.
Non-Surgical Treatments for Vulvodynia
Pelvic Floor Therapy
Estrogen Replacement Therapy
Desensitisation of Pelvic Nerve Plexus Injection
Surgical Treatment for Vulvodynia
In the case that all methods are exhausted, surgery may be recommended only if you are a suitable candidate. As surgery always comes with associated risks, complications and downtime, it may not be suitable for everyone. You should carefully weigh the decision before deciding to go under the knife by considering the pros and cons of both non-surgical methods and surgical reconstruction.
How Can I Prevent Vulvodynia?
There is no known way to prevent vulvodynia since there is little information on its cause. However, you can lessen your pain from vulvodynia by:
- Avoid wearing tight clothes and using a pantyhose
- Using a 100% cotton underwear
- Avoiding exercises that put pressure on the vulva, such as cycling and horseback riding
- Reducing your stress levels
- Getting enough sleep
- Using plain water to wash the area
Get Your Pain Resolved
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