Vulvodynia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Do you have pain, stinging, or burning in your vulva? Vulvodynia is a medical condition that can cause significant discomfort and affect your quality of life. Some women have so much hypersensitivity that they struggle to wear clothing due to pain. Contrary to most available information, vulvodynia is a treatable condition. 

What is Vulvodynia?

Vulvodynia is defined as chronic pain in the vulva with unknown causes. Dr. Fowler of Fowler GYN International disagrees. He has established the underlying causes of this condition and can provide long-term solutions. 

Vulvodynia can affect the entire vulva or only parts of it, and your pain may come and go, appear in response to contact such as sitting or intercourse or persist throughout your daily routine. The tests performed by most gynecologists will not detect the subtle alterations in the vaginal environment that lead to this condition. 

What Causes Vulvodynia?

Vulvodynia is a sign that the sensitive skin of the area is being exposed to irritant vaginal secretions. What makes your vaginal secretions irritating to your skin? This problem occurs when the normal microflora of the vagina becomes disrupted, a condition called Altered Vaginal Microflora (AVMF). 

In a normal vaginal environment, a healthy population of lactobacillus keeps the vagina moderately acidic, preventing other microorganisms from growing. Potentially problematic bacteria and yeasts remain in small, harmless populations when the vaginal balance remains stable. If the population of lactobacillus changes or the vagina becomes less acidic, these other residents can start to grow out of control. 

These populations of “bad” microorganisms produce byproducts that alter the composition of the vagina secretions. Your vulva, accustomed to your normal vaginal secretions, becomes irritated and damaged by these changes. As a result, symptoms do not resolve or keep recurring until the underlying condition has been treated. 

What are the Symptoms of Vulvodynia?

The primary symptom of vulvodynia is a pain in the vulva, but this can present in many different ways. 

  • Burning or itching
  • Stinging or sharp pain
  • Aching, throbbing pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain after sitting, riding a bike, or other activities
  • Hypersensitivity to touch
  • Discharge and odor

These symptoms indicate a problem with AVMF, causing irritation and chronic injury to the vulva. These can also affect a ring of special tissue at the opening of the vagina called the vestibule, an area highly sensitive to injury. 

How is Vulvodynia Treated?

If you have had numerous tests before that did not reveal any cause for your vulvodynia, rest assured that Dr. Fowler’s Vaginal Fluid Analysis will find your answer. This test examines multiple factors that indicate the conditions inside the vagina, including populations of lactobacillus and other organisms. Dr. Fowler has over 40 treatment protocols to give each woman personalized, lasting 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, or by calling (480) 420-4001.

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