Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Top Cause Of Painful Sex Uncovered

Date:
November 13, 2007
Source:
Society for Women's Health Research
Summary:
Sex is supposed to be enjoyable, but for countless women suffering from vulvodynia, that's not the case. Characterized by pain or discomfort with sexual intercourse, rawness, stinging, itching and burning in the vagina or vulva, vulvodynia is a common condition, but it is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

Sex is supposed to be enjoyable, but for countless women suffering from vulvodynia, that’s not the case. Characterized by pain or discomfort with sexual intercourse, rawness, stinging, itching and burning in the vagina or vulva, vulvodynia is a common condition, but it is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

Related Articles


“The symptoms of vulvodynia mimic those of other, common vulvovaginal infections,” explains Christin Veasley, associate executive director of the National Vulvodynia Association in Silver Spring, Md. “Women are routinely and incorrectly told that they have a yeast or bacterial infection over and over again.”

Vulvodynia is more prevalent than most health practitioners realize. Roughly 16 percent of women between the ages of 18-64 have experienced chronic vulvar pain for at least three months or more, according to a survey by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass.

The word “vulvodynia,” literally means “painful vulva,” which is the part of female genitalia that consists of the mons pubis (fatty tissue at the base of the abdomen), the labia, the clitoris and the vaginal opening. Women who suffer from vulvodynia may experience intermittent or constant pain which can persist for months to years.

Making matters worse, vulvodynia is difficult to diagnose. A diagnosis often occurs only after other conditions are excluded. “Vulvodynia is diagnosed when other causes of vulvar pain, such as yeast or bacterial infections, or skin diseases, are ruled out,” Veasley said. The tissue of the vulva region may appear swollen or inflamed, but more often than not, it looks normal.

The cause of vulvodynia is unknown. This is partly because there has been a lack of research on the disorder in recent years. What is known is that vulvodynia is not caused by a sexually transmitted disease. According to the National Vulvodynia Association, potential causes include:

  • An injury to, or irritation of, the nerves that innervate the vulva.
  • An abnormal response of different cells in the vulva to environmental factors (such as infection or trauma).
  • Genetic factors associated with susceptibility to chronic vulvar vestibular inflammation.
  • A localized hypersensitivity to yeast.
  • Spasms of the muscles that support the pelvic organs.

Currently, there is no cure for vulvodynia, but it is important for women to seek medical attention because the pain can be managed and treated. “Treatment is directed at symptom relief and includes drug therapy to ‘block’ pain signals,” Veasley said. “In women who have associated pelvic floor muscle spasm or weakness, physical therapy, biofeedback and/or Botox injections may be incorporated into the treatment plan.” Because each case is different, treatment tends to be tailored based on individual needs and responses.

Some women find self-care measures to be helpful in alleviating the symptoms of vulvodynia. These include: cold compresses, anti-histamines, the use of lubricants before sexual intercourse and avoiding triggers like hot tubs, tight-fitting undergarments and irritating soaps and detergents. It is highly recommended to work together with a health care provider who can help identify the approach that works best for each individual.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Women's Health Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Women's Health Research. "Top Cause Of Painful Sex Uncovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071109190251.htm>.
Society for Women's Health Research. (2007, November 13). Top Cause Of Painful Sex Uncovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071109190251.htm
Society for Women's Health Research. "Top Cause Of Painful Sex Uncovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071109190251.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins