Vaginal symptoms such as pain and irritation can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, but many women often ignore these intimate medical issues because they are embarrassed to talk about them. However, vulvovaginal problems should never be overlooked, as they could end up getting worse and cause severe discomfort. But when should you seek a vulvovaginal specialist?
Importance Of Vulvovaginal Health
Vulvovaginal health plays a vital role in overall well-being, so it should not be taken lightly. When vulvovaginal symptoms are not adequately treated they can lead to a range of symptoms and decrease quality of life.
When To Seek A Vulvovaginal Specialist
If you are experiencing symptoms such as pain, abnormal discharge, soreness, burning, or itching in the vaginal area, it is best to have an evaluation done by a vulvovaginal specialist. These symptoms are usually the result of an infection or inflammation of the vagina (vaginitis).
A vulvovaginal specialist diagnoses and treats disorders of the vulva and vagina. The vulva is the external female genital area and includes the labia majora, labia minora, and clitoris.
When selecting a vulvovaginal specialist, be sure to choose a doctor who understands the complexities of vulvovaginal disorders. The specialist should also have the necessary training and expertise to make an accurate diagnosis and develop an effective treatment plan.
How Are Vulvovaginal Diseases Diagnosed?
Diagnosing vulvovaginal diseases often requires an advanced set of skills as well as expensive diagnostic tools. Unfortunately, many doctors have difficulty diagnosing these conditions because they lack the necessary knowledge, experience, and equipment.
Specialized testing using advanced diagnostic techniques is often required to identify the specific cause of certain vulvovaginal conditions.
It is therefore essential to seek help from a vulvovaginal specialist like Dr. R. Stuart Fowler. Dr. Fowler is a board-certified gynecologist who worked at the Mayo Clinic for 22 years, specializing in vulvovaginal disorders and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. As a result, he has significant expertise in diagnosing and treating vulvovaginal diseases.
After leaving the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Fowler set up Fowler GYN International (FGI) to help women with vulvovaginal disorders get the relief they need.
Vulvovaginal disorders treated by FGI include:
- Lichen sclerosus
- Recurrent vaginal yeast infections
- Recurrent bacterial infections
- Recurrent bladder infections
- Vulvar vestibulitis
- Chronic vaginal discharge
What Is Vulvodynia?
Vulvodynia is a distressing vulvovaginal condition characterized by burning pain in the vulva. The pain typically lasts for more than 3 months and has no apparent cause.
Women with vulvodynia often find it impossible to engage in intercourse, insert a tampon, or wear tight clothing, as these can all exacerbate the pain.
Dr. Fowler carried out extensive research and clinical observations, which established that women with vulvodynia usually have flora patterns along the spectrum of abnormal vaginal microflora.
Understanding Vaginal Microflora
The vaginal microflora consists of diverse types of microorganisms including, good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria or lactobacilli are the most prevalent. Lactobacilli produce lactic acid and other compounds that prevent the pathogens from multiplying. However, various factors can cause a shift in the vaginal microbiome, resulting in an altered vaginal microflora pattern.
Abnormal flora patterns can be detected using a vaginal fluid analysis (VFA) test that analyses the constituents of the vaginal fluid. The VFA test is a diagnostic tool developed by Dr. Fowler.
Treating Vulvovaginal Disorders
The treatment for vulvovaginal disorders will depend on the specific condition being treated. However, diseases caused by an altered vaginal microflora can be treated with a customized protocol that restores balance to the vaginal microbiome.