Vulvodynia vs. Vaginitis: What’s the Difference?

Have you visited your gynecologist about pain in your vaginal area but never been told the difference between vulvodynia and vaginitis? Many women who have these conditions do not realize they have them. If you have discomfort in and around your vagina, your condition has a name and a treatment. 

Vulvodynia vs. Vaginitis: What’s the Difference?

There are several key differences between vulvodynia and vaginitis. They affect different parts of your anatomy, and they affect it in different ways. Dr. Fowler at Fowler GYN International will give you a more in-depth understanding during your consultation. 


Vulvodynia is a pain in the vulva that lasts three months or more with no identifiable cause. Dr. Fowler has found that vulvodynia does have a specific and treatable cause. The vulva, the tissue at the opening of your vagina, experiences pain when irritated and inflamed by chronic damage. Vulvodynia can make everyday things like wearing clothes or sitting for long periods extremely uncomfortable. 


Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina, often resulting from a bacterial infection. Dr. Fowler has found that, in many cases, the problem is not an infection but an imbalance in the natural vaginal microflora. Vaginitis can result from altered vaginal secretions irritating the tissues, causing itching, burning, and odor. 

What Causes Vulvodynia and Vaginitis?

Vulvodynia and vaginitis share a common cause. They both occur as a result of altered vaginal microflora (AVMF). Your vagina usually contains a healthy population of acid-producing lactobacilli. These bacteria keep your vagina at an acidic pH that hinders the growth of yeasts and other bacteria. 

Other microorganisms can increase when factors disrupt the balance and decrease the lactobacilli population. These include yeasts and other common vaginal residents that normally remain under control. Their secretions change the pH of the vaginal secretions, making them irritating and damaging to the vagina and vulva. Chronic exposure can cause hypersensitivity and intense pain. 

How Are Vulvodynia and Vaginitis Treated?

The best way to correct vulvodynia and vaginitis is to stop the irritant secretions from damaging them. A healthy vagina’s acidic secretions keep the tissues healthy, so Dr. Fowler’s treatment protocols work to restore the factors that support a healthy population of lactobacilli. When these bacteria dominate the vaginal microflora, they prevent other microorganisms from creating toxic, irritant compounds. 

Am I a Good Candidate For Vulvodynia and Vaginitis Treatment?

If you have vulvodynia or vaginitis, Dr. Fowler has a treatment protocol that can provide relief. If you have medical problems, he will consider them as contributing factors to your vaginal concerns. Good candidates can be of any age since these conditions can affect women at any time in their lives. Dr. Fowler treats women from all over the world. 

Take the Next Step

The experts in vaginal health at Fowler GYN International (FGI) Phoenix, AZ specialize in the treatment of vulvovaginal conditions. The team at FGI is led by Dr. R. Stuart Fowler. Dr. Fowler is an Emeritus Mayo Clinic board-certified gynecologist.

You can reach FGI at, or by calling (480) 420-4001.

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