Vaginismus? Vulvodynia? What?

People ask all the time about the difference between Vulvodynia and Vaginismus, so here’s a brief explanation:

  • Vulvodynia is chronic unexplained pain in the vulva that lasts for over 3 months. The pain can be described as burning, stinging, rawness, or even itching. It can occur with intercourse, but frequently women will have pain with tight clothing, or even sitting. It can possibly be caused by tight muscles, hormonal changes or nerve irritation.
  • Vaginismus is caused by an involuntary tightening of the vaginal muscles. The muscles can become tight enough to make sex uncomfortable, painful, or even impossible. Women can also experience a burning or stinging sensation as well. Typically, there is not pain outside of intercourse or inserting something into the vagina.

I find that the two diagnoses are frequently confused, which is not surprising as the symptoms can be very similar, and frequently women can present with both vaginismus and vulvodynia. Sometimes you have to treat the Vaginismus in order to treat the Vulvodynia. But as the treatment for both are different, it is important to have an experienced provider make the correct diagnosis, so the proper treatment can be started. Either way, Vaginismus or Vulvodynia… there is help. Contact us for a free phone consultation.

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