| Caroline Knight
The pain condition we call vulvodynia can be challenging on various levels. It not only affects you physically, but mentally and emotionally too. Any pain condition that doesn’t go away easily is likely to lead to worry and anxiety, and for some it can even lead to depression. Therefore it’s important to manage the situation as soon as possible. Women with vulvodynia tend to have a lot of questions around the condition; in particular how long it will last for, whether it will go away on its own, what makes it better, what makes it worse… you name it. One we are commonly asked is, “Does vulvodynia get worse over time?”
At VuvaTech we have a great deal of experience with this condition, so we try to address each of these pressing questions as thoroughly as possible. For those who aren’t too familiar with vulvodynia, the term refers to persistent pain in the vulva. This pain happens despite no visible abnormalities or clearly identifiable causes; currently the causal factors are more or less a matter of speculation. There is no definitive conclusion right now, but research has shown that it is likely to be a nerve issue.
Does vulvodynia get worse over time?
Assuming that vulvodyna is actually a nerve problem, it stands to reason that overly sensitive or irritated nerve fibers can cause varying degrees of pain - depending on what they’re subjected to. It seems that with vulvodynia, nerve fibers can send abnormal signals and these result in the sensation of pain, and even the slightest touch can make the nerve fibers over-respond. If your vulvodynia symptoms continue over time, you have what’s called ‘unprovoked vulvodynia’. If they only happen when pressure is applied, you have ‘provoked vulvodynia’.
Whatever the type of vulvodynia you have, the pain is not usually progressive, meaning that it won’t get worse the longer you have it. Although the pain of vulvovdynia can get worse, it has nothing to do with the passing of time and everything to do with activities and exposure.
So if you do have vulvodynia, there is no need to worry that it’s going to get worse and worse. On the contrary - there are many effective vulvodynia treatments out there and combining some of these brings most women relief. It may make you feel better to know that vulvodynia can go away on its own, and it frequently does.
What can make vulvodynia get worse?
Under certain circumstances the pain of vulvodynia may worsen. For instance, if you have surgery in the area and it results in scarring. Sexual intercourse can trigger more pain, as can inserting tampons. Even sitting for extended periods of time can make vulvodynia pain worse. The reality is that there are many things that can trigger vulvodynia and make the pain worse, but this doesn’t mean you’ll never get rid of it. It just means that you’ll need to be vigilant about your activities and lifestyle choices.
It is important not to panic or let it overwhelm you or alter the quality of your life, since this is what leads to depression and isolation – neither of which will help you to recover from vulvodynia. So the bottom line is that although there are things that can make vulvodynia get worse, time is not one of them, and you do have some control over the situation.