You will find countless opinions and suggestions when it comes to the cause and treatment of vulvovaginal problems. How do you know when you have a vulvovaginal problem and whether you need to see a specialist? Most women experience occasional vaginal irritation or discomfort, but when this does not go away or respond to treatment, the problem may require a specialist’s attention.
What Causes Vulvovaginal Problems?
Many vulvovaginal problems happen because the normal balance of your vaginal microflora has become altered. Changes in the environment of the vagina can shift the balance from “good” bacteria that maintain the natural balance to problem-causing bacteria and other microorganisms such as yeasts.
These bacteria do not exist to cause trouble in the vagina. Still, when they reproduce out of control, they transform your normal vaginal secretions, causing irritation and trauma to the mucous membranes and skin of the vulvovaginal area. Most available treatments only address the symptoms but do not address the problems that caused the shift in vaginal microflora in the beginning. As a result, the symptoms may improve but return as soon as treatment stops.
Top 3 Signs You’re Experiencing Vulvovaginal Problems
Any woman who has experienced a yeast infection or bacterial vaginitis knows about the burning, itching, and discharge that occur when these microorganisms multiply too much. Over-the-counter treatments or a trip to your doctor may clear up these problems if they happen occasionally. If they start to happen often or do not go away, you may need to see an expert. The experts at Fowler GYN International can diagnose and treat these problems for good.
Vulvodynia, or chronic pain around the entrance to the vagina, becomes a concern when it lasts for several months, and your doctors cannot find a reason or cause. A vulvovaginal specialist has extensive knowledge and experience that lets them diagnose and treat the causes of vulvodynia. If you have chronic pain, burning, stinging, or other discomforts around your vulva, a specialist can help you resolve it.
Dyspareunia, or pain during sexual intercourse, can make intimacy impossible and strain your personal relationships. This pain often has treatable causes and, with expert management, can resolve completely. If you experience painful intercourse or lasting pain after intercourse, the treatment requires a specialist to determine the underlying cause.
Yeast and Urinary Tract Infections
The occasional yeast infection or urinary tract infection happens to many women. These will often resolve with treatment from your doctor. When you have conditions that keep coming back or stop responding to treatment, you may need to see a specialist to determine what is happening inside your vagina to allow these problematic microorganisms to reproduce too enthusiastically.
What Does Your Vaginal Microflora Do?
When your vaginal microflora functions normally, it maintains a natural balance that keeps your vagina healthy. The most numerous residents in a healthy vagina are lactobacilli, “good” bacteria that produce lactic acid. This acid keeps the vagina at a pH between 3.5 and 4.5, an acidity that prevents most other microorganisms from growing well. When the vaginal balance changes and other bacteria start to crowd out the lactobacilli, the vaginal secretions become an irritant, damaging the sensitive skin of the vulva.
How Can You Get Back Your Vulvovaginal Health?
To treat vulvovaginal problems, your specialist needs to discover what has caused the vaginal microflora to change. A Vaginal Fluid Analysis (VFA) test can determine what conditions exist in the vagina and how they affect your vaginal microflora. Once the causes of this imbalance have been determined, your specialist will develop a treatment plan that restores the normal function of your vagina. This allows the normal bacterial balance to re-establish itself, and your symptoms will resolve.
Take the Next Step
The experts in vaginal health at Fowler GYN International (FGI) Phoenix, AZ, can diagnose and treat your vulvovaginal problems. 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.