Vulvodynia is characterized by a burning, rawness, irritation, and/or knifelike pain throughout the vulva or opening of the vagina with any type of touch or attempt of insertion. When the pain is specifically at the opening of the vagina, it is known as vestibulodynia or vulvar vestibulitis. In turn pain from vulvodynia can cause pelvic floor muscle spasms.
It is important to note that for some women this pain is intermittent while for others it is chronic.
Direct causes of vulvodynia are unknown, but it is theorized that the symptoms stem from nerve pain.
Your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation to assess your symptoms. Being the evaluation will be internal and external, you and your therapist will work together to ensure your comfort throughout the entire process. If your therapist feels you may need further examination or testing, she will refer you to an MD.
Treatment for vulvodynia will consist of gentle releasing the muscle spasms throughout the pelvic floor musculature through various manual and therapeutic exercise along with desensitization techniques to decrease the pain. Your therapist and you will also discuss home exercises and strategies to reduce your pain and discomfort.