What is

Vulvodynia or Vestibulodynia?

Vulvodynia or Vestibulodynia is characterized as chronic pain around the opening of the vagina that has no identifiable cause and that lasts for at least three months. Living with this condition can be so uncomfortable that it becomes impossible to sit for long periods of time or even think about having sex. Some may even find it impossible to wear tampons. There is no reason to lose hope if you are experiencing this — treatment is possible by working with a pelvic pain specialist.

Symptoms of Vulvodynia

Burning sensation in or around the vagina
Swelling of the vulva
Extreme pain during intercourse
Feeling raw in or around the vagina
Intense itching
Throbbing of the vulvar area


Vulvodynia or vestibulodynia can often be difficult to diagnose and patients can suffer for long periods of time. This fact, let alone the intense discomfort, can make life with vulvodynia extremely stressful and upsetting. While often the exact cause is multifactorial, vulvodynia/vestibulodynia can be associated with:

  • Past vaginal infections
  • Injury or trauma to the vulvar area
  • Hormonal changes
  • Allergies or sensitive skin
  • Disorders in the pelvic floor
  • Neuroproliferative changes


Vulvodynia can cause more than just physical pain — it can lead to emotional distress, strain on relationships, feelings of isolation and depression. When treating vulvodynia, it’s just as important to treat the emotional trauma as it is to treat the physical discomfort. While no single treatment is effective for every woman, a combination of therapies can lead to a life without pain. This may include:

  • Topical medications
  • Oral Medications
  • Biofeedback therapy to train your pelvic floor muscles to relax
  • Pelvic floor physical therapy
  • Local anesthetics to temporarily relieve pain symptoms
  • Psychotherapy to release emotional blockages from past trauma
  • Surgical Interventions

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be time to see Dr. Sonia Bahlani.

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