Many women suffer from vulvodynia, study finds

It seems that a condition once thought to be rare among women may be much more common then was thought. The illness is called vulvodynia and a recent study done at the University of Michigan and reported on September 15, 2011 in Medical News Today tells us that “Chronic Vulvar Pain A Reality For More Than 100,000 Women In Southeast Michigan.”

Do you suffer from pain in the vaginal opening so sever that intercourse and sometimes even sitting down is an agonizing experience? If you do then you are not alone. According to researchers at the University of Michigan more then 25% of the women that they surveyed have experienced ongoing vulvar pain at some point in their lives although only about 2% of them saught any medical care for the condition.

The study that was done interviewed 2,269 women in the metro Detroit area and found that the cause when known was varied, for some activities such as bike riding, intercourse or tampon use caused short term though excruciating pain while for others spontanious pains lasted as long as 40 years.

Characterized by a burning irritation or a sharp pain near the opening of the vagina, vulvodynia has several different known causes and treatments.

"What this means for area women is that vulvar pain is common, it has a name, and it can be addressed with their physicians," says Barbara D. Reed, M.D., M.S.P.H, a professor of family medicine at the U-M Medical School and lead author of the study.

Unfortunately the study fund that of the 2% who sought medical care 5% of them was misdiagnosed with either yeast infections or estrogen deficiency so the subsequent treatment plans did little to alleviate the pain. This was the main reason for the study.

"With this knowledge, we better understand how common this disorder is, and who is likely to be affected. Knowing this should make it easier for medical providers to expect to see women with this problem, and will therefore make the diagnosis earlier so that treatment can proceed," Reed says.

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