Vulval Pain

What is it?

Vulval pain is a condition that can affect women, and is a discomfort to the genital area, often occurring in the form of itching and inflammation. Many women find it difficult to look at their vagina, which can leave the condition going untreated, due to many being unable to notice any subtle changes. The level of pain, soreness and stinging can vary, and can have a great affect on not only a woman’s sex life, but also daily activities.

What causes it?

A vaginal infection may be the cause, of which there are several varieties, including thrush, bacterial vaginosis, herpes simplex and trichomonas vaginalis. The symptoms for each condition can differ and will not be identical in all cases. Vulval pain can also be caused by skin problems, such as an allergic reaction to a particular soap brand. In some cases vulval pain may also be caused by childbirth or surgery. It is best to see your local GP, who may recommend a specialist such as a gynaecologist.

Can it be treated?

There are a variety of treatments available, due to the many problems that can cause vulval pain. The treatments on offer will differ in success for each individual. It may be the case you try several treatments to find which works best for you. They include:

  • Anaesthetic gel - This can be used to relax the genital nerves around the vagina before having sex

  • Antidepressant medication - Though mainly used for symptoms of depression  there are antidepressant drugs, such as amitriptyline, that can help to combat nerve pain

  • Vaginal dilators - Smooth penis-shaped objects that help to gradually relax the vaginal muscles

  • Pelvic floor muscle therapy - A therapist can teach you this technique. It is a good way to relax the vaginal muscles to prevent involuntary spasms. The technique is recommended to be carried out a minimum of three months

  • Corticosteroids medication - This medication is similar to the corticosteroid hormones made in your body. It can be taken orally, through injection, through an inhaler or by way of an ointment

  • Surgery - Surgery is typically a last resort, but if other treatments are not successful then this may be the best option

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