If you suffer from a stabbing or burning pain near your vagina, it has a name, and more women than you think have it.
According to one study (Reed et al, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology), over 25 percent of women have experienced stabbing, burning or sharp pain about their vagina.
“Causes are vulvodynia, vestibulitis, Bartholin cyst or abscess, any type of vaginitis, herpes simplex, round ligament pain during pregnancy,” says Dr. Vivika Joshi, OB/GYN at Dr. Felix Online Pharmacy.
“Vulvodynia is a poorly understood condition that produces burning and sharp pain around the vaginal opening or vulva,” explains Dr. Joshi.
“Other common symptoms are soreness, stinging, searing, throbbing, rawness, pain and fear of speculum insertion during pelvic exams.
“Pain with intercourse and subsequent relationship problems are commonplace.
“Most of these women avoid activities that aggravate the symptoms such as bike riding, wearing tight jeans or clothes, prolonged sitting; even walking can trigger the pain.”
You now know it has a name and is a well-documented medical condition: vulvodynia.
What’s really alarming about vulvodynia is that, according to the women in the AJOG study, it’s a very much misdiagnosed condition.
Only two percent of the women in the study sought medical attention for the symptoms, not knowing what they had.
However, of these patients, only five percent were diagnosed with vulvodynia.
The misdiagnoses were those of estrogen deficiency or yeast infection. Not surprisingly, the treatments that ensued were useless—evidence supporting the misdiagnoses.
What is the cause of vulvodynia?
“Causes of vulvodynia is presumed to be allergens, history of bedwetting, early age of menarche, and a history of yeast vaginitis — either repeated episodes or one very severe case,” says Dr. Joshi.
“A history of sexual assault has been described as a risk factor, but this has not been substantiated.
“An underlying psychological cause has been disproven since studies show similar psychological profiles in women with vulvodynia.
“Subsequent psychological issues may ensue when a patient is dismissed and not taken seriously with their symptoms.”
Vulvodynia is not “all in the head.” How can anyone imagine stabbing, tearing, stinging pain?
A pain that’s described as burning, sharp or raw is not the product of imagination.
“This is a very real and complicated condition associated with chronic inflammation, increased vascularity and nerve overgrowth,” says Dr. Joshi.
How to Calm Down that Burning, Stabbing Vaginal Pain
“Systemic/oral drugs that target ove active nerves like Gabapentin are more effective than tropical agents that can aggravate the symptoms,” says Dr. Joshi.
“The fact that a ‘nerve calming’ drug like Gabapentin improves symptoms is further proof that this is a real medical condition.
“Avoidance of any chemicals, lotions, perfumed soaps and prolonged exposure to hot tubs is recommended. Cold packs for acute pain are a better choice than topical lidocaine.”