1. What is vulvodynia and how is it classified?
  2. What are the possible causes of vulvodynia?
  3. What are the possible therapies for vulvodynia?

What is vulvodynia and how is it classified?

Vulvodynia is a syndrome that affects the vulva and is responsible of three symptoms: stinging, redness, and pain, especially during sexual intercourse. It is classified as “vestibuldynia” if it affects tissues at vestibular level (at the entrance of the vagina), or as “clitorodynia” if the pain is localised on the clitoris.

What are the possible causes of vulvodynia?

Vulvodynia is more frequent in those women that have been affected by several gynaecological disorders like viral, bacterial or fungal vaginitis like candida, cystitis, constipation, vaginal dryness or which have undergone some sort of gynaecological surgery. Other factors that can increase the risk of vulvodynia can be associated to bad eating habits, incorrect intimate hygiene, or clothing, like synthetic clothes that are constrictive and tight in the pelvic area. Diagnosis is based on the persistence of symptoms for at least three months and on the assessment of infections through a gynaecological examination and diagnostic tests like vaginal tampons, urine test and vulvoscopy.

What are the possible therapies for vulvodynia?

Therapies that are recommended for vulvodynia are specific for each patient but they mainly consist in local anaesthetics, oestrogen-rich creams, anti-inflammatory medications and physiotherapy for pelvic floor rehabilitation. Occasionally, surgery known as vestibulectomy can be done. This consists in the removal of the vestibular mucosa and of the associated nerves that lead to hypersensitivity. The area that is removed is then covered with healthy tissue from the vagina. Since women experience pain especially during sexual intercourse, they undergo both psychological and sexual difficulties that may be overcome with a therapist and/or sexologist. In addition, to solve the pain associated to vulvodynia, it is important to abstain from sex until the inflammation is solved and to adopt a correct intimate hygiene and healthy diet to prevent vaginal infection recurrence.

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