Vaginal Pain (Vulvodynia) (cont.)

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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 damage or irritation of nerves, abnormal responses to irritation or inflammation, allergic reactions, muscle spasms, a history of sexual abuse, or frequent use of antibiotics. Familial or genetic factors have also been suggested to play a role in vulvodynia. Unfortunately, the exact cause has not been determined and most women have no known contributing factors.

What symptoms are characteristic of vaginal pain and vulvodynia?

Symptoms of vulvodynia include pain that can be perceived as burning or stinging. The pain may also have an aching or throbbing nature. Sometimes, itching is associated with the pain.

The pain may be constant or it may come and go. It can occur during certain activities including sex or exercise. It may also occur at rest. Some women report pain that is localized to one side or one area of the vulva, while others have more generalized and widespread pain.

There are usually no physical signs or changes that accompany vulvodynia, but sometimes there is evidence of inflamed skin.

What are risk factors for vaginal pain and vulvodynia?

Since the cause is poorly understood, it is difficult to predict who is at risk for vulvodynia. It can affect women of all ages and races. It can begin as early as adolescence and can occur both before and after menopause.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/5/2013

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Vaginal Pain and Vulvodynia - Medications Question: What medications or other medical treatments have helped your vaginal pain (vulvodynia)?
Vaginal Pain and Vulvodynia - Home Remedies Question: What home remedies have been helpful in relieving your vaginal pain and vulvodynia?
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Vaginal Pain (Vulvodynia) - Diagnosis Question: Please describe the tests and exams you received that led to a diagnosis of vulvodynia.
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