If you’re one of the 15 percent of women who experience vulvodynia in their lifetimes, you may be wondering how on earth you will achieve normal things like having a sexual relationship, becoming a mother or even just sitting at your desk at work.
While some women recover from the condition and symptoms tend to lessen over time, many women don’t recover or find that their vulval pain lasts several years or even decades.
Symptoms of vulvodynia include:
• A burning pain at the vulva, usually constantly but it worsens when the area is pressed and during sexual contact
• Slight redness
• Itching of the vulva and/or labia
• Feeling as if you have a urinary tract infection when you don’t
• Vaginal dryness
• Burning when you urinate
• Extreme burning pain during or after intercourse, lasting up to three days
As the debilitating condition often hits at puberty or after using the pill, there are many women of childbearing age who are left wondering just how to maintain their relationship and start the family they desperately want.
How to Have Sex When it Hurts
Unfortunately for women with vulvodynia, making a baby involves having sex which can be extremely problematic, if not impossible. The anti-depressants given to treat vulvodynia are also not suitable for use in pregnancy, so should not be used if you are planning a baby, but there are ways around it if you are determined enough.
• Try a steroid cream – these do lessen the symptoms in some women, although some find them ineffective. It might take the edge off the pain so that you can bear intercourse. It can also act as a lubricant if you are dry and sore.
• If that doesn’t give you enough relief, you can apply topical lidocaine anesthetic to the areas that hurt you, just a few minutes before intercourse and then you shouldn’t feel any burning pain. You might be wondering what the point is of having sex with anesthetic but if your objective is to have a baby, then the sensation doesn’t really matter.