Have you been experiencing vaginal pain? Vaginal pain can be uncomfortable and upsetting, so it should not be ignored. Even minor vaginal pain that does not interfere with normal activities should be taken seriously and checked out by a gynecologist. But what types of vaginal pain are normal?
What Types Of Vaginal Pain Are Normal?
Any type of vaginal pain should be examined and investigated by your doctor. Pain in the vagina is always the sign of an underlying problem, so it is crucial to have it properly treated.
Unfortunately, many women brush vaginal pain aside because they are too embarrassed to talk to their doctor about it. However, the truth is vaginal pain is a real medical problem that requires treatment.
Vaginal pain may be mild or severe, and the type of pain experienced depends on the underlying cause. The pain may affect the vagina, the vulva (area at the opening of the vagina), or both.
The duration, intensity, and location of the pain, along with the associated symptoms, can help determine the specific condition.
Vaginal pain may be associated with other symptoms such as soreness, abnormal discharge, itching, rawness, and throbbing.
Various conditions can cause vaginal pain including, yeast infections, vaginal dryness, vulvodynia and vaginal cancer.
Vulvodynia pain can be particularly distressing because it is a burning pain that is sometimes unrelenting. The pain is also described as searing, stabbing, and sharp.
Wearing tight clothing, riding a bike, or exercising can all intensify the pain. The severity of the pain makes intercourse impossible for some women, and even sitting down for long periods or inserting a tampon can be painful.
Vulvodynia pain usually affects the vaginal opening. Other symptoms of vulvodynia include rawness, stinging, soreness, and irritation.
What Causes Vulvodynia Pain?
Vulvodynia pain is often the result of an altered vaginal microflora pattern. This connection was made by Dr. R. Stuart Fowler, vulvovaginal specialist of Fowler GYN International (FGI).
An altered vaginal microflora differs from the normal flora due to a shift in the bacterial milieu. The vaginal microbiome contains a mixture of good and bad bacteria but the good bacteria called lactobacilli usually dominate the environment.
When the bacteria milieu changes, it can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria that cause the vaginal secretions to irritate the vestibule. The vestibule is the area around the opening of the vagina. Pain and other symptoms of vulvodynia occur due to the response of the vestibular tissue to the irritants present in the vaginal secretions.
Treating Vaginal Pain
Vaginal pain caused by an altered vaginal microflora, can be treated by restoring balance to the vaginal environment.
A vaginal fluid analysis (VFA) test can be carried out to detect the presence of an abnormal microflora. The VFA test was developed by Dr. R. Stuart Fowler, founder of FGI.
If the VFA test confirms that the vaginal microbiome is in an altered state, FGI will formulate a customized treatment plan to shift the microflora toward normal.
The protocol usually consists of medication and hypocontactant hygiene products. When the vaginal microflora is restored to optimal health, vaginal pain and related symptoms will resolve.
When To See A Doctor About Vaginal Pain
If you are experiencing recurrent or chronic vaginal pain, it is best to see a vulvovaginal specialist for an accurate diagnosis. This is especially important if the pain has persisted for more than 3 months.