Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
Vulvodynia refers to pain in the area of the vulva and vaginal opening for which no cause can be identified.
Vulvodynia is not related to
sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs).
The exact cause of vulvodynia is not known.
Symptoms include a burning, throbbing, or aching pain that can be localized to one area of the vulva or more widespread.
Vaginal itching may be associated with vulvodynia.
Vulvodynia can be treated with medications and/or self-care (home remedy) measures. No one treatment is effective for all women.
Local anesthetics, local estrogen creams, antidepressants, and anticonvulsive drugs are examples of medical treatments for vulvodynia.
Biofeedback, exercises, and nerve blocks may benefit other women.
Vulvodynia is not associated with cancer or serious medical conditions, but it can be a source of long-term physical and emotional discomfort.
What is vaginal pain (vulvodynia)?
Vulvodynia refers to pain in the area of the vulva and vaginal opening. Vulvodynia is considered to be pain for which there is no known cause. It is different from pain that is located deep in the pelvis or internally in the vagina.
This article focuses on pain in the vulvar region and at the opening (introitus) of the vagina.
Deeper vaginal pain can also occur due to infections, tumors and conditions that cause more generalized pain in the pelvic organs.
Vaginal pain can be chronic and can last for years in some women. The degree of severity varies among women. It often occurs in the absence of physical signs or visible abnormalities. It can be severe and can interfere with sexual activity and cause painful intercourse (dyspareunia). However, there are a number of other causes of vaginal pain during or after sex.
What causes vaginal pain and/or vulvodynia?
It is unclear why some women develop vulvodynia. It is not thought to be related to sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), although some women with vulvodynia have had multiple STDs. Some theories suggest that vulvodynia may be related to
Pain in the vagina or the female external genital organs (the vulva, which includes the labia, clitoris, and entrance to the vagina) most commonly is a result of infection. Vaginal pain during sexual intercourse is referred to as dyspareunia. Infection of the vagina is referred to as vaginitis.