| Caroline Knight
Is Vulvodynia a Chronic Illness?
Given that the pain of vulvodynia is can be quite overwhelming at times, it’s little wonder that women all over the world are searching the internet for solutions and advice. If you’ve found yourself reading this Vuvatech article, know that you’ve come to the right place. Vuvatech advice and products are all born of direct personal experience!
You may have a lot of questions as to how you can get over vulvodynia, vaginismus or any other debilitating gynecological problems. We do our best to answer them all, which is why this article addresses the question, “Is vulvodynia a chronic illness?”
Some examples of chronic illnesses are Alzheimer's disease (and other dementias), arthritis, asthma, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), cancer, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). So, let’s address the question at hand…
Is vulvodynia a chronic illness?
Any woman who has suffered from the pain of vulvodynia will tell you that this isn’t usually a fleeting experience. Therefore, yes: vulvodynia can be considered a chronic illness.
It may help to know that a chronic illness (or disease) is defined as one that is ‘persisting for a long time or constantly recurring’. A ‘chronic’ illness is generally defined by the length of time it lasts; namely, three months or more. This guideline is comes from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. Chronic diseases won’t be prevented by vaccines and are unlikely to be cured by medication. Similarly, they don’t often disappear on their own.
Although vulvodynia can go away on its own, it often doesn’t. Treating vulvodynia can mean trying out a range of different strategies and substances. Some vulvodynia treatments can be done at home, and may be successful. However, some women may need to consult experienced practitioners for assistance. As with any chronic illness, the road can be long but that does not mean there is no relief (or an end!) in sight.
Why is vulvodynia difficult to treat?
Vulvodynia is a complex condition with many subsets. Different women experience it in different ways, and its causes are not yet conclusively confirmed. Some women experience the pain of vulvodynia only in the labia (the folds just outside the vaginal opening); some experience their pain in the vestibule (the skin at the vaginal opening) and some feel it most in the perineum (the area between the vaginal opening and the anus).
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Others may feel pain in the entire vulvar region, which is known as generalized pain. Localized pain refers to the pain felt in one or more specific areas (e.g. the perineum or clitoris). Vulvodynia is still a chronic illness regardless of whether the symptoms are constant, or they disappear and return unpredictably.
It is not always easy to tell why and when vulvodynia will flare up, but when you know about the triggers, you have a better chance of prevention. You may also be wondering whether you’ll be stuck with it forever if vulvodynia is a chronic illness. We will say that provided you make a sustained effort to find out and implement what works for you, there is likely to be a way out. Even if you find it recurs from time to time, you don’t have to worry that vulvodynia will ruin your life. As always, knowledge is power, as it leads to solutions… and we are grateful to be here to help you with both!