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Depression of the vagina: what is vulvodynia and how to treat it?



Aug 11, 2010
Also known as vulvodynia, depression of the vagina can be extremely debilitating for those who suffer from it. The NHS gives a precise definition to better detect this disease still poorly identified by health professionals.


More and more women are suffering from vaginal depression, a condition that is still largely unknown to gynecologists.

In medical terms, this syndrome is known as vulvodynia. "Vulvodynia is a persistent and unexplained pain in the vulva (the skin that surrounds the entry of the vagina, Ed)," the NHS describes.

Specifically, the depression of the vagina is manifested by a burning sensation or tingling very painful at the entrance of the vagina, although there is no outward sign of infection or skin disease. The pain increases with the slightest contact, such as during sexual intercourse, the setting of a tampon or simply when one sits. It can extend to the buttocks and inside the thighs.

These chronic pain can affect libido and personal relationships (including developing a feeling of isolation),resulting in some cases in depression.

If all these symptoms occur, consult a general practitioner and a gynecologist. "The simple fact of being diagnosed can help relieve the pain of women who felt they could not be helped for years because of a lack of visible symptoms," says the NHS.

The Cause
"The exact cause of this condition is unknown, but it is thought that the problem comes from the nerves that innervate the vulva," according to Dr. Vanessa Mackay, spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Population Concerned
All women can be affected by depression of the vagina, regardless of their health status or age. The elderly or the little girls are also concerned. In the United States, research has shown that one in four women will experience vaginal depression at least once in their lifetime.

To treat vulvodynia, doctors sometimes use anti-depressants (amitriptyline and nortriptyline) to relieve nerve pain, hence the name "depression of the vagina." Antiepileptic drugs called gabapentin and pregabalin may also help, as conventional painkillers such as paracetamol are ineffective in this case. Injections of local anesthetics and steroids are also possible, as in rare cases surgery to remove part of the vulva.