My name is Iris Nira, I am a 30 year old Hispanic woman and have recently been diagnosed with vulvodynia (aka vulva vestibulitis).
In 1997 I was diagnosed with endometriosis and since then have had an array of complications. One of the more recent complications is being diagnosed with vulvadynia March 21, 2008. My fourth opinion for my endometriosis diagnosis dismissed my vulvodynia as a yeast infection in 2005.
In 2007 after many complications I was sent home yet again by the same doctor after an emergency visit to the hospital due to unbearable pain and inflammation with a diagnosis of "just a yeast infection". I was beginning to think that not just my gynecologist, but others were dismissing my symptoms as if they were "all in my head".
After much frustration, I decided to search for another doctor. I decided on a holistic doctor, and with some relief of vitamins and minerals, and probiotics, I thought this was the right path. Until the symptoms one day appeared with great vigilance, I was unable to walk. I found a local endometriosis specialist, who after many weeks, many tests and treatments with all the –azoles, did his best to arrive at a definitive diagnosis, but unfortunately I was not responding to any treatment or had allergic reactions to multiple medications.
I respected that he was honest enough to inform me that he had never had a patient like me and he referred me to a urologist and another gynecologist who specializes in vulvovaginal and infectious diseases of the vagina. The new gynecologist/infectious disease doctor diagnosed me with vulva vestibulitis (aka vulvodynia) and I was placed on clobetasol 2X/day, estrace, and lidocaine 5%. After many follow-ups complaining of a constant yeast infection and UTIs I was desperate for relief from the pain and the doctor suggested I take Wellabutrin.
Treatment of Vulvodynia with Wellabutrin (tricyclics) would not only assist with any depression but also with helping with the pain that is associated with the vulvodynia. In addition to the medicine, he prescribed physical therapy treatment to alleviate the pain and help strengthen my pelvic floor muscles as well.
The physical therapist advised I do kegels and work with a vibrator as well as an Interferential machine to assist with pain management. I decided not to take the Wellabutrin but to pray and work on my physical therapy. I did however have a bad reaction to the UTI medication and have since been told by my doctor’s head nurse that I cannot take that class of medication in the future for I am highly allergic to it.
Since the physical therapy I have had some relief of symptoms, but was told that treatment could take a while and to take it one day at a time. Vulvodynia is a very emotionally frustrating disease. I have had some bad days that have prevented me to participate in day-to-day activities (i.e work, school, working out, socials events…needless to say sex) and affected my quality of life. Five months after diagnosis I have worked up a tolerance to finally enjoy sex without the use of lidocaine. I must add that I am very fortunate to have a loving, thoughtful, selfless fiancé who has been my support through this difficult time. I also have terrific support from family and friends whose prayers help me get through each day.