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If a woman experiences vulvar pain, she should speak to her doctor in order to determine its cause. Vulvar pain may be caused by a sexually transmitted disease or a skin condition. Once the condition is treated, the pain will dissipate. In some cases, however, the cause of the pain is not clear. In such cases, the pain may persist for months or years, a condition known as vulvodynia. The treatment for this type of chronic pain varies and often depends on how well a woman responds to a particular treatment protocol.
Doctors will often advise women who experience vulvar pain to adopt certain lifestyle habits that can reduce irritation to the vulva. This includes wearing loose clothing and underwear made of natural fibers so that the skin can breathe and avoiding the use of scented hygiene products. In some cases, making these changes can make a significant difference in the degree of pain that a woman experiences. Women may also be advised to avoid activities that require them to sit in one place for long periods of time, such as bicycle riding. In some cases, dietary changes can also play a role in reducing vulvar pain, particularly if the pain may be attributed to the consumption of foods and beverages that can be bladder irritants, feed yeast infections, or otherwise contribute to a woman's pain.
If home remedies are not enough to address a woman's vulvar pain, other treatments may be prescribed. These may include techniques for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, such as physical therapy, pelvic exercises, and even biofeedback. In some cases, drug therapy may be necessary. Prescription antidepressants may be useful in addressing vulvar pain, while the use of an antihistamine can control symptoms caused by allergies. Some women may find that creams that contain a topical anesthetic are useful in controlling pain, particularly when used before having intercourse.
Some women may not be able to receive relief from vulvar pain through the use of medication or other noninvasive therapies. In such cases, women may wish to undergo surgery in hopes of correcting their condition. If a woman has been diagnosed with vulvar vestibulitis syndrome, a condition in which her pain is concentrated in the tissues surrounding the opening of her vagina, she may be able to undergo a procedure in which that tissue is removed. While this is a serious step and is not suitable for all women, it may provide relief in cases where other treatments have failed.