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Anonymous (reply to EnglishGirl)


I'm in the UK (Dorset). I'm 29 and I've had vestibulodynia since I was 18, to varying degrees. As briefly as I can, this is how it's happened for me:

When I was 17 I met my (now) husband. I went on the Pill and had no problems for the first year or so, although sex was never really completely painless - there was always a little stinging and I suffered badly from 'honeymoon cystitis', so I was advised to take one antibiotic pill (Trimethoprim) every time we had sex, so I probably took 3 a week.

Sex started to get painful around a year later, shortly after we got back from a holiday abroad. It began hurting to have sex, it hurt a LOT when he withdrew, and riding a bike became impossible. I saw my GP repeatedly, and was told I had thrush. I took thrush meds pretty frequently for about a year after that because I was told that was what it was each time. But nothing helped for more than a few days.

Tired of being fobbed off, I went to a GUM clinic, where I tested negative for thrush, after all that! After 3 visits, they diagnosed vulval vestibulitis (now called vestibulodynia), but was basically told there was nothing to be done, except lidnocaine. Well, that didn't really work. I'd apply it, feel nothing at all during sex, and it would wear off almost immediately. I went back to the GP, with the GUM Clinic's findings, and they prescribed Dermol 500, which was LOADED with chemicals and did absolutely nothing!! They also gave me a steroid cream. If that helped then it wasn't enough for me to remember it now. Then they referred me to a sexual therapist, who told me to 'focus on the pleasure, not the pain'. That helped a little when we were having sex, but it's a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

Since then, I've pretty much put up with it. I did see a gynaecologist at the hospital a couple of years ago, but that essentially boiled down to 'we know what it is but we can't help you'.

These days, I'm rather fed up! I'm looking at trying the implant, on the off-chance a total change in contraception will make a difference. I've tried using all-natural toiletries but again, no difference. The worst part is that it's put me off sex to the point that my husband and I haven't made love in over 3 months. I can try to 'focus on the pleasure', but the pleasure lasts for about 20 minutes, and the pain lasts for a LOT longer. After a while, your body associates intimacy with sex, and sex with pain, so you stop having a libido.

It's great that women in America are getting the help they need, but WHY are the NHS so behind in helping women in our position???

January 11, 2015 - 9:48am


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