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Vulvar Vestibulitis: Misdiagnosed Disease by Heather Mitchell

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Sex, urinating, sitting comfortably, and other miscellaneous things like these are often taken for granted. Unfortunately for some women, these things cannot be done and this is due to a disease called Vulvar Vestibulitis. Many times this goes overlooked by physicians thinking that it is a urinary tract infection bladder infection, STD, or simply that the woman is a hypochondriac. This disease can come on due to many reasons including Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), yeast infections, HPV, anxiety, stress, and other unknown reasons. It inflames the vestibules of the labia, which produce oily secretions to lubricate the vagina for sex and moisture. Without these secretions, it can irritate daily activities, which were mentioned earlier. Symptoms include burning, frequent urination, painful intercourse, irritation with tampon use, pain when sitting for long periods, and mild itching. One activity that is severely inhibited is sex because it causes friction and further irritates the vestibules causing a burning sensation ranging from mild to unbearable.

Unfortunately, this disease is not well known and sometimes it can heal itself within six to twelve months or it may last a lifetime. There is no known cure to suppress or fix the disease only treatments to help with the pain. One recommendation for sufferers of this is to get off any form of hormonal birth control, as these can cause imbalanced levels. If estrogen is too low then the secretions of the vestibules become rare and it can cause dryness and painful sex. Another remedy is a steroid ointment, ideally, this reduces inflammation and pain in the region, but does not always work. Sometimes it can be musculoskeletal and pelvic floor therapy can help. This therapy entails exercises to help the muscles surrounding the pelvic floor to strengthen and alleviates stress put on the vaginal muscles. One extreme treatment is the use of botox in the area or sometimes a surgical procedure to remove the skin and allow new skin to grow back.

Aside from these clinical remedies, there are homeopathic remedies that may help. Many of these entail herbal concoctions, natural oils such as coconut or olive oil, and a change in diet. For many people, these may help a little but do not take the condition away.

For women with this disease, it is a life-changing condition and can cause years of suffering. It can cause depression, anxiety, and the constant fear of sexual relationships. The majority of victims do not seek help for fear that they might be considered crazy. This is a problem for a large part of the female population and seeking help from a physician who is educated on the topic is crucial. To fix this or suppress the symptoms, one must be proactive in going to different doctors and trying different remedies. Hopefully, within the next couple of years, scientists and doctors can come up with a cure for the devastating disease.


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