Burning, stinging, or painful intercourse can be signs of a vaginal health problem. Vulvodynia and vestibulodynia indicate an imbalance inside the vagina. They can persist for many years without proper treatment and severely disrupt your life. Fortunately, a vulvovaginal specialist can provide treatment that will finally provide relief.
What is Vulvodynia?
Vulvodynia is usually defined as pain or discomfort in the vulvar area. It may include the labia and entrance to the vagina. Many resources list the condition as having no diagnosed cause. Dr. Fowler at Fowler GYN International recognizes that vulvodynia is a symptom of altered vaginal microflora (AVMF). This condition occurs when populations of organisms in the vagina become unbalanced, letting “bad” bacteria proliferate. This overgrowth alters the vaginal secretions, making them damaging to sensitive tissue around the vulva.
What is the Difference Between Vulvodynia and Vestibulodynia?
Vulvodynia affects each woman differently. Some may deal with persistent itching, burning, and odor, while others struggle with constant pain. The pain is sometimes localized to a particular part of the vulva. Vestibulodynia is a condition where pain and irritation affect the vestibule. This area at the vaginal entrance is formed from a different type of tissue than the vagina, making it especially vulnerable to abnormal vaginal secretions. Vestibulodynia can make intercourse impossible and significantly affect your life.
What Causes Vulvodynia and Vestibulodynia?
Vulvodynia, including vestibulodynia, often occurs as a result of AVMF. Dr. Fowler uses a Vaginal Fluid Analysis to test for several key factors that can cause it, including:
- The number of lactobacilli, the “good” bacteria that maintain vaginal pH
- The number and maturity of squamous cells that lactobacilli feed on
- The population of other microorganisms like bacteria and yeasts
- The balance between aerobic and anaerobic bacteria
- The presence and type of white blood cells
When populations of lactobacilli decrease, other organisms take the opportunity to grow. Their secretions change the vaginal secretions, altering their pH and composition. These altered secretions become an irritant and source of trauma to the vulva, especially the sensitive tissue of the vestibule.
How are Vulvodynia and Vestibulodynia Treated?
After diagnosing the cause of your AVMF, Dr. Fowler will place you on a treatment protocol tailored to your condition. With over 40 treatment protocols to choose from, he can provide long-term relief from your vulvodynia symptoms.
Should I See a Vulvovaginal Expert for My Vulvodynia?
Most gynecologists only test for a few specific microorganisms, causing them to miss the majority of vulvodynia causes. You may have received news that your condition has no diagnosis. A vulvovaginal expert like Dr. Fowleer recognizes and treats the actual cause of your discomfort, so you finally get relief.
Take the Next Step
The experts in vaginal health at Fowler GYN International (FGI) Phoenix, AZ specialize in the treatment of vulvovaginal conditions. The team at FGI is led by Dr. R. Stuart Fowler. Dr. Fowler is an Emeritus Mayo Clinic board-certified gynecologist.
You can reach FGI at https://www.fowlergyninternational.com/, or by calling (480) 420-4001.