If you struggle with dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse), you’re not alone. Many women seek treatment for years without getting any relief. You may have had a similar experience, with other doctors failing to treat your symptoms or dismiss them as psychological. Pain during intercourse can wreak havoc on your intimate relationships and damage your self-confidence. If past treatments failed, they might not have reached the underlying cause of the problem: imbalanced or altered vaginal microflora.
Symptoms of Dyspareunia
Painful intercourse can have different symptoms for each person. You may experience symptoms such as:
- Stinging or burning sensations
- Sharp pain during penetration
- Throbbing or aching pain for hours after intercourse
- Avoidance of intercourse due to pain
- Issues with intimate relationships
These symptoms come from irritated and painfully sensitive vulvovaginal tissues. While doctors may diagnose many causes of this condition, most are symptoms and not the actual cause. After years of searching for a solution, you may have been through doctors who kept sending you away with ineffective treatments or others who dismissed it as an emotional problem. Fortunately, you can get relief from these symptoms with diagnosis and treatment from a vulvovaginal specialist.
What Causes Dyspareunia?
Most gynecologists lack the experience or the testing facilities to detect Altered Vaginal Microflora Patterns (AVMP). In these situations, the normal flora that lives in the vagina becomes disrupted, turning neutral vaginal secretions into irritants that cause burning, stinging, or pain. This irritated and damaged skin can trigger nearby nerves, causing sharp or burning pain.
When the vaginal microflora is in balance, “good” bacteria such as lactobacilli keep vaginal secretions at a pH of 3.5 to 4.5. Your vaginal tissues function normally at this pH, but if the pH changes, it can irritate and damage sensitive tissues, causing the pain of dyspareunia. Testing for dyspareunia means determining which elements of the vaginal microflora have become altered, testing only available through specialists in vulvovaginal health.
Testing for Causes of Dyspareunia
Testing for AVMF uses a sample of your vaginal secretions. You may even be able to collect this sample at home by yourself and return it by main for your vulvovaginal specialist to test. The Vaginal Fluid Analysis test can reveal factors such as:
- The number and maturity of squamous cells indicate the overall health and nutrition of the vaginal mucosa
- The number of normal and abnormal lactobacilli show the health of the normal vaginal microflora
- The presence of white blood cells, which are absent in healthy vaginal secretions but can arrive if an infection occurs
- The number of bacteria other than lactobacilli present showing whether altered bacteria growth has occurred
- The presence of yeast cells, which is not a condition by themselves but an indication of underlying altered vagina balance
This testing gives your vulvovaginal specialist the ability to assess what has changed in your vaginal microflora and what conditions exist in the vagina to allow this abnormal microflora to proliferate.
How to Treat Dyspareunia
After testing determines your type of vaginal microflora alteration, you can be placed on a protocol that restores the natural balance and allows damaged tissues to heal. Over 95% of women who follow through with the entire protocol see results, including a resolution of their dyspareunia. When the underlying condition that altered the vaginal microflora is treated, the microflora naturally returns to its proper balance.
You should feel confident and able to enjoy sexual intercourse without pain holding you back. With treatment of your dyspareunia, you can. Most doctors only see a few cases like yours in a year, so they do not have the testing equipment or protocols necessary to identify and treat altered vaginal microflora. Fowler GYN International can conduct advanced testing to give you real answers and real help.
Take the Next Step
The experts in vaginal health at Fowler GYN International (FGI) Phoenix, AZ treat dyspareunia to restore your intimate health and enjoyment. 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 https://www.fowlergyninternational.com/, or by calling (480) 420-4001.