When Sex Hurts: Is Vulvar Vestibulitis to Blame? – James A. Simon
When Sex Hurts: Is Vulvar Vestibulitis to Blame?
Women who experience significant pain during sex may be suffering from vulvar vestibulitis, a type of vulvodynia. Vulvar vestibulitis is an inflammation of the vaginal vestibule, or the entrance to the vagina. Any type of pressure, whether it’s from penetration, inserting a tampon or even crossing your legs, could cause severe pain. Burning, stinging or irritation of the vestibule area can also accompany this condition. According to the International Pelvic Pain Society, approximately 200,000 women may suffer from vulvar vestibulitis.
Find the Right Treatment to Enjoy Sex Again
It used to be that women experienced pain during sex (and were brave enough to bring it up), were dismissed by their doctors. It was never considered a “real condition” until recently. And even today, many medical providers misdiagnose the underlying reason or don’t have the knowledge to accurately diagnose and recommend appropriate treatment options. I’m proud to have helped many women find the right treatment options for vulvar vestibulitis so they can enjoy sex again.
So what treatment options may be right for you? A few are outlined below.
Treatment Options for Vulvar Vestibulitis
- Biofeedback helps patients understand their body’s natural responses – such as heart rate, muscle tension and temperature – and how to control them through calming techniques. Women suffering from vulvar vestibulitis may learn what triggers pain and what may help control or reduce it.
- Injections of interferon may provide relief for some women. Interferon is an antiviral and antitumor medication that may block the inflammation that causes vaginal pain in some women.
- Physical therapy has also helped women experience moderate improvement in their condition.
- Surgery to remove the inflamed tissue may help reduce pain. Surgery is usually a last resort in very difficult circumstances that have not improved with simpler treatments. However, surgery in the wrong hands may make the condition worse.
The bottom line: Painful sex is not something you should suffer through in silence. There is a real, medical reason for your pain. It may be vulvar vestibulitis, or it may be another condition. I encourage you to speak openly and frankly about the symptoms and pain you’re experiencing. Because vaginal pain, whether it occurs daily, sporadically or only during sex, is never anything that you should be embarrassed about.
Contributed by Lucy Davies Treene, MSHS, PA-C