Vulvodynia is a complex disorder that can be difficult to treat. Most patients describe it as burning, stinging, irritation, or rawness. Vulvodynia is a costly disease both economically and on its negative impact on patient quality of life. Although many treatment options are available, no one treatment is effective for all patients, thus the need to individualize management. Measures such as gentle vulvar care, medication, biofeedback training, physical therapy, sexual counseling and surgery, as well as complementary and alternative therapies are available to treat the condition with varying success.
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Vulvodynia, simply put, is chronic vulvar pain without an identifiable cause. The location, constancy and severity of the pain vary among sufferers. Some women experience pain in only one area of the vulva, while others experience pain in multiple areas. The most commonly reported symptom is burning, but women’s descriptions of the pain vary. One woman reported her pain felt like “acid being poured on my skin,” while another described it as “constant knife-like pain.”
The signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis vary from person to person. If you have interstitial cystitis, your symptoms may also vary over time, periodically flaring in response to common triggers, such as menstruation, sitting for a long time, stress, exercise and sexual activity.
Interstitial cystitis signs and symptoms include:
- Pain in your pelvis or between the vagina and anus in women or between the scrotum and anus in men (perineum).
- Chronic pelvic pain.
- A persistent, urgent need to urinate.
- Frequent urination, often of small amounts, throughout the day and night. People with severe interstitial cystitis may urinate as often as 60 times a day.
- Pain or discomfort while the bladder fills and relief after urinating.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.