Vaginal Pain and Vulvodynia

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    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.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    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.

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Home remedies for vaginal pain and vulvodynia

Home remedies and self-care measures for vulvodynia can bring relief for many women. Some self-care measures to relieve the pain of vulvodynia include:

  • Rinsing the area with cool water, particularly after urination and sexual activity
  • Soaking in cool or warm sitz baths
  • Using topical ice packs wrapped in a towel
  • Heating pad use, in contrast, may help some women
  • Using mild, unscented soaps and detergent
  • Using white, unscented toilet tissue
  • Wearing white cotton underwear
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothing and avoiding stockings or pantyhose
  • Avoiding pools or hot tubs with chlorinated water
  • Using a water-soluble lubricant during sexual intercourse
  • Avoiding activities such as bicycling, that put pressure on the vulvar area
  • Keeping the vulvar area dry and clean
  • Avoiding food that can make the urine more irritating to the skin of the genital area. These foods include beans, berries, nuts, and chocolate
  • Over-the-counter antihistamines can help reduce itching, particularly at night

What are the complications of vaginal pain and vulvodynia?

The pain of vulvodynia can be debilitating and interfere with daily activities and sexual intercourse. It can make women feel a loss of control their bodies, causing profound emotional and physical discomfort.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for vaginal pain and vulvodynia?

Vulvodynia is a chronic condition, meaning that it may persist for months to years. In other women it may come and go. While it is not associated with cancer or with any serious medical diseases, it may be a source of chronic pain and emotional discomfort.

REFERENCES: Gunther, E. S. "Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of generalized vulvodynia." UpToDate. Updated Jan 30, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/31/2015

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