Vulvodynia is painful condition affecting the vulva, or the area just at the opening of the vagina. There’s no cure, though sometimes the malady goes away on its own. Once your doctor rules out treatable conditions that can cause vulvar pain he will focus on helping to give you some relief for your symptoms.
Trial and Error
Determining which treatments work best is a process of trial and error to find what works best for you. Sometimes a combination of several treatments gives the most effective results. It may take time for the treatments to take effect. Some therapies may even take months before a noticeable improvement is seen in your condition.
Medications are often the first line of treatment for women with vulvodynia, since tricyclic antidepressants are known to reduce pain in chronic conditions. Examples of this type of medication are Norpramin, Pamelor, and amitriptyline. Antihistamines can be useful for the relief of the attendant itching of vulvodynia, and anticonvulsants have been found to ameliorate the pain.
Relaxation is Key
Biofeedback can teach you how to modify your body’s response to pain, so you can get some relief. In biofeedback, you learn that relaxation is the key to pain reduction. For instance, in the case of vulvodynia, you will be taught how to relax the muscles in your pelvis, which tend to tighten and spasm in expectation of discomfort. This tightening of the muscles can in and of itself lead to a situation of chronic pain.
Physical therapy is useful if you make sure that the therapist is experienced in treating this type of vulvar pain. A good therapist may be able to help you to strengthen your pelvic floor through exercises and this can aid in reducing the pain of vulvodynia. Other possible physical therapy options are transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, and pressure point massage.
If sex is painful, your doctor may be able to help you obtain temporary relief of the symptoms by prescribing a local anesthetic such as lidocaine. You will need to apply the anesthetic a half an hour prior to intercourse. Keep in mind that your partner may experience some numbing of his privates after making love to you.
Sometimes a daily application of topical estrogen cream can help to relieve the pain of vulvodynia. Estrogen in the form of vaginal tablets, used once or twice a week may improve the condition of your vagina so that you don’t experience vaginal atrophy or dryness.
If your doctor can pinpoint the specific areas where you experience pain, he may be able to treat the areas with injected steroid medication. This isn’t as painful as it sounds, since a numbing agent is added to the medication for the purpose of easing the pain of injection.