The Vulva Monologues

It’s time to put this outrageous story of one vulva’s experience with vulvodynia into words. I started my blog over a year ago, but I have found it easier to talk about my fibromyalgia and chronic pain instead of the ‘pelvic pain’ – the pain in my vulva and vagina. Putting it ‘out there’ is scary because it is such a private part (yes, pun intended) of my life. But that’s exactly why people like me need to write about it. There is so much stigma and shame, along with ignorance and misinformation. Vulvodynia means chronic pain of the vulva, which is the outer part of women’s genitals, and includes the outer labia, inner labia, vestibule (opening to the vagina), clitoris, and urethra. The vulvar pain does not come from an infection, allergic reaction, skin condition or other identifiable cause, and there is often no visible change in appearance to the vulva. Vulvodynia can be generalized (cause pain everywhere in the vulva) or localized (to a specific area of the vulva, often the vestibule, which is the vaginal opening). The pain can be constant or intermittent. One specific sub-group of women have vestibulodynia (pain of the vestibule), which is usually felt when pressure is applied to the area, such as when trying to have sex, when sitting down or wearing tight pants. How does it feel? Raw, burning, irritated, throbbing, aching, tingling… there are many different sensations. The condition is common and affects up to one in four women at some point in their lives, according to the National Vulvodynia Association. For some women the condition spontaneously resolves, but many other women have to manage it throughout their lives. I fit into this second group, and this new blog section will describe the five year process of coming to terms with my vulvodynia and the ongoing process of learning to manage it.

Great Sources of Information:

When Sex Hurts: A Woman’s Guide to Banishing Sexual Pain by Dr. Andrew Goldstein et. al.

The Vulvodynia Survival Guide by Howard Glazer

National Vulvodynia Association

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8 thoughts on “The Vulva Monologues

  1. abodyofhope says:

    Thank you for sharing this information. I shared it on an adult chronic pain group I belong to where I know some women who have pelvic chronic pain. This is a problem that is rarely written about. Even thought I’ve had chronic pain for the past 10 years, I’ve read very little about women’s pelvic and vaginal pain from the perspective of the sufferer so thank you for sharing this.

    • Katarina says:

      Thanks so much for your supportive comments! I’m hoping to write more about it because it is such a neglected, stigmatized form of chronic pain. It means a lot if it helps any other women feel less isolated.

  2. Victoria Lister says:

    As a suffer of chronic pelvic pain I can relate to this blog. My pain is slightly different from Vulvadynia, more visceral involving the internal reproductive organs but I do know how it feels to be in pain “down there” Thank you for raising awareness of this important subject. Can I subscribe to the blog? Please let me know how to keep in touch. Best regards x

    • Katarina says:

      Thanks for stopping by and reading! Of course you can follow the blog – there should be an email subscription on the blog web page or follow through the wordpress reader 🙂

  3. rosiepearl says:

    Hi Katarina – I have this too and it is seriously debilitating. I’m trying to write more about it, but you can find my first blog about it on my website, http://www.rosalindpearl.com. Would love to connect with someone who is trying to raise awareness like I am! x

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