Vulvodynia refers to pain to the vulva, which is the external female genitalia and includes the clitoris, labia, Bartholin's glands, and vaginal opening. This condition affects approximately 13 million American women, and it is ruining their sex lives. Furthermore, gynecologists have yet to determine what causes it. If you suspect that you suffer from vulvodynia, it's a good idea to talk to a gynecology specialist and get yourself examined. Throughout the course of your care, your gynecologist will recommend different treatments or tips on how to relieve pain. Different treatments work for different people. Here are 3 common tips.
Reduce Irritation By Rinsing the Vulva with Cool Water After Urination and Intercourse
Pain from vulvodynia is most obvious and prevalent usually after urination or after intercourse. You might notice that the area is a bit inflamed or swollen. You can get immediate pain relief or prevent the pain from worsening by simply rinsing your vulva with cool water. Even if you're not in pain, try to rinse the area with cool water to help yourself relax. It'll also help wash away any irritants that might be sticking around.
Wear Loose Fitting Bottoms
Avoid irritating the vulva by wearing loose-fitting bottoms instead of tight-fitting ones. For example, you might want to consider wearing skirts and loose-fitting pants more often than leggings and pantyhose. This gives your vulva more room to relax. In addition, chemicals and certain compounds might irritate the skin around the vulva. Wear 100% white cotton underwear as often as you can to avoid exposing your vulva to any irritants.
Avoid Activities that Place Pressure on the Vulva
The pain and stress caused by vulvodynia can be magnified if you participate in activities that place some amount of stress on the area. This includes activities like cycling and horseback riding. The pressure on the vulva might irritate the nerve endings in the area, which is why you might experience pain even if you haven't had intercourse in some time. It's best to take it easy until all of the symptoms disappear or until the gynecologist has come up with a treatment plan that works for you.
If you experience pain at your vulva, speak with a gynecologist as soon as you can. Vulvodynia can be difficult to diagnose, and the gynecologist might have to spend some time to figure out what your triggers are and what treatments work best for you.