Vulvodynia – a Genital Fibromyalgia?

Rate This

Your vulva hurts to touch. Sex is painful, if not impossible. It hurts you to urinate and you itch constantly. If you try to be intimate, insert a tampon or even ride a bike, your genitals feel like they are on fire. You think perhaps it's thrush so you go to the doctor who prescribes an anti-thrush cream that makes you feel worse. Months later, they finally admit it isn’t thrush. You have something called vulvodynia, a pain disorder of the vulva that may or may not be permanent.

Very little is known about the disorder, which was only "discovered" in 1988, but some doctors believe it is a type of fibromyalgia that affects only the genitals.

Women experience a burning of the vulval tissue that is constant but worsens on contact and they may get stabbing pains up the vagina or even referred pain in the legs and feet that actually originates from the vulva. This is similar to the stabbing and burning felt in the muscles of fibromyalgia sufferers.

What Causes Vulvodynia?

No one knows for certain what causes vulvodynia, but there are several contributing factors:

Recurrent Infection – A lot of sufferers have a history of repeated vaginal and bladder infections prior to their diagnosis. It is thought that chronic infection damages the nerves so that any touch is interpreted as pain. Topical anti-thrush creams can also trigger long-term burning and pain if they are used frequently.

Immune System Fault – Some studies have shown that women with vulvodynia have a weaker immune system than healthy women and it is thought it may be an auto-immune problem. Many women with vulvodynia also suffer from other hypersensitivity conditions such as hyperacusis, asthma or eczema.

Neurological Disease – Since sensation is interpreted incorrectly, some doctors believe it is a problem with the brain, rather than the genitals.

Allergic Reaction – some cases of vulvodynia have occurred after taking medications. For instance, the contraceptive pill is known to trigger vulvodynia.

Musculoskeletal Fault – If there is a structural problem with the woman’s body, for instance, if she has a hip problem, this can cause referred pain in her vulva.

Add a Comment7 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Great content. I wish other information I stumbled on was just as good. Keep up the great job.

August 14, 2015 - 10:17am
EmpowHER Guest

Great content. Among the best I've found.

July 22, 2015 - 1:33pm
EmpowHER Guest

I absolutely loved reading this post. It is informative, completely comprehensive and straight to the point. Self Esteem Boost

July 7, 2015 - 1:25pm
EmpowHER Guest

None of the various posts I've come across are like this one. You can tell much work went into this.

July 3, 2015 - 2:54pm
EmpowHER Guest

You can scarcely find posts such as this nowadays. I remember when you could find one or two topics similar to this in minutes but now it's much harder.

June 20, 2015 - 4:02am
EmpowHER Guest

See what happens when you invest some time and offer quality material as part of your postings? I have been browsing the web for hours on end for information like this and for a while I thought it might be impossible until I came across your posting. I'll be back to read more.

June 14, 2015 - 5:26pm
EmpowHER Guest

You would never think that you might find information such as this. When compared to other subject material I've read today, this one is better.

June 12, 2015 - 8:39am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Female Sexual Dysfunction

Get Email Updates

Female Sexual Dysfunction Guide

Rosa Cabrera RN

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!


3648 Health


2244 Lives


2080 Lives
8 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Do you think medical companies should continue to search for a "female Viagra" in the hopes of one day receiving FDA approval?:
View Results