| Tara Langdale
Women suffering from female infertility may wonder if the cause is vulvodynia. Both have profound emotional and physical effects on women's mental wellbeing. While both conditions affect reproductive health, there's no strong evidence that vulvodynia directly causes infertility.
However, chronic vulvar pain may indirectly cause infertility because one of the necessities for conception is sexual intercourse. This article will explore vulvodynia and infertility and the possible connections and reasons for both conditions.
Vulvodynia and Infertility
Infertility is the inability to conceive after trying for 12 months or more if you're over 35. Vulvodynia is chronic vulvar pain that affects female genitals and the area around the vaginal opening. Both can have detrimental effects on a couple's sex life for the following reasons.
Pain During Sex
If a woman suffers from searing pain before, during, or after sexual encounters, engaging in intimacy becomes unbearable. Pain conditions associated with vulvodynia cause burning and stinging pain, making the vulvar and pelvic muscles inflame and throb. All of which may make getting pregnant extremely difficult or impossible.
While conception may happen after being intimate one time, it usually takes regular sexual intercourse. The pain syndrome from vulvodynia may make even the thought of sexual penetration too much to consider.
Unable to Discuss Painful Sex
Women with vulvodynia find it extremely difficult to talk about their vulvar pain. The reasons for this vary, but common ones are an embarrassment, shame, and fear and we need to feel comfortable talking about this to get the right treatment.
Since chronic pain affects the vaginal opening, clitoris, and region between the vagina and anus, it can be hard to discuss private parts. The sexual pain may also extend inside the vaginal cavity due to weak pelvic muscles, and having to describe this to a medical professional can be overwhelming.
In some cases, pain during sexual intercourse started after a pregnancy loss or cesarean section, making it hard for women to talk about a past traumatic event and ongoing pain. Not being able to discuss painful sex may make overcoming the problem difficult, resulting in infertility.
Symptoms of an Underlying Medical Condition
Vaginal pain in the genitals or pelvic floor may be due to an underlying medical condition. Some existing health concerns can cause pain in the vulvar skin or throughout a woman’s reproductive system, including:
- yeast infections
- urinary tract infections
- ovarian cysts
- blocked Fallopian tubes
- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Sexually transmitted diseases (STD), such as human papillomavirus, chlamydia, and gonorrhea, can cause infertility. However, there's no evidence that vulvodynia is due to sexually transmitted diseases.
Women who have a pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) like chlamydia may experience similar symptoms to vulvodynia, but may not have the painful medical condition at all. Or could have the PID and vulvodynia. If you believe you have an STD, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
Causes of Vulvodynia
Vulvodynia is a painful condition with no known cause in the majority of cases, according to the Vulvar Pain Foundation. (1) It generally affects women between the ages of 20-40, but women at any age can have vulvodynia symptoms. (2)
The burning and stinging pain penetrates the vaginal tissue from any touch or becomes chronic pain without pressure. Unfortunately, vulvodynia results in psychological impairments, sexual dysfunction, limitation of everyday activities, and physical disabilities.
Causes of Infertility
The inability to conceive may have roots in various conditions and may be difficult to diagnose. The most common reason is not ovulating or low ovarian reserve. (3) Conception relies on the ovaries, releasing an egg each month for fertilization and implantation in the uterus.
If the eggs' quality is low or the ovulation cycle is too short or too long, the egg may not implant at all or properly. Besides ovulation issues, the increased risk for infertility can be linked to the following conditions: (4)
- poor diet
- athletic training
- celiac disease
- certain medications
- exposure to certain chemicals
- hormonal changes
In the United States, 10% of women have difficulty conceiving. It can bring about deep sadness and heartache. (4) It may also be the cause of painful sex.
Treatments for Vulvodynia and Infertility
If the pain from vulvodynia is preventing you from being sexually active and resulting in infertility, you do have options. The National Vulvodynia Association recommends different methods for treating vulvodynia, including:
- low-dose tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
- massaging tight muscles with vaginal dilators
- cognitive-behavioral therapy
The exact pain management treatment you choose will depend on your body, doctor’s recommendation, and cause. However, vaginal dilators are a natural choice that come with no side effects.
Treating Vulvodynia with Vaginal Dilators
Vaginal dilator treatment is a kind of physical therapy that uses a tube-shaped device to massage and stretch vaginal muscles gently. Vulvodynia pain may come from tight, constricted pelvic floor muscles located in the vagina and around the vaginal opening or vulva.
Dilators made in the USA available at www.vuvatech.com
Vaginal dilators help promote healthy vaginal tissue by bringing fresh oxygenated blood to ease tightness and restriction. Through consistent dilator therapy, persistent vulvar pain eases and allows women to have healthy sex lives. Regular sex boosts conception outcomes.
The vulvodynia treatment can be used in the privacy of your own home and at the pace you're comfortable with following.
Vulvodynia and Infertility Diagnosis
Women with vulvar pain should make an appointment with their doctor to give a full medical history. A cotton swab test may be performed to indent the vaginal flesh to check for pain points. Also, complete blood work may be drawn to check different hormone levels and rule out STDs, infections, and other medical conditions. (5)
The concern of whether or not vulvodynia causes infertility is a natural one. Vulvodynia is a severe and painful condition that makes it difficult to remain sexually active. However, there's no direct link between vulvodynia and infertility.
Yet easing the pain of vulvodynia may make sexual intercourse pleasurable, but if you have other underlying conditions that affect your ability to conceive, becoming pregnant may still be difficult.
Other VuVa Helpful Links:
Tara Langdale Schmidt is the inventor of the VuVa Dilator Company. She has pelvic floor dysfunction herself and wanted to create a dilator set that is made in America that women can trust. VuVatech has been in business since 2014 and has helped over 40,000 women all over the globe. She patented the Neodymium Vaginal Dilator, that is clinically proven to help with blood flow and nerve pain.