Vulvar Vestibulitis: Is There a Cure?

Vulvar vestibulitis is a chronic pain disorder that can be challenging to treat.  Millions of women are affected by vulvar vestibulitis, but they often struggle to get a proper diagnosis, and treatment isn’t always effective.  As a result, women with the condition sometimes wonder if there is a cure for the disorder. 

What Is Vulvar Vestibulitis?

Vulvar vestibulitis is a condition marked by chronic pain in the vestibule, which is the tissue that surrounds the opening of the vagina.  The disorder is also known as provoked vulvodynia.  Provoked vulvodynia is pain in specific areas of the vulvar vestibule that is triggered by touch or pressure.     

What Are the Symptoms Of Vulvar Vestibulitis?

Burning pain in the vulva, which lasts for at least 3 months, is the primary symptom of vulvar vestibulitis.  The pain is also described as throbbing, cutting, or stabbing. 

The burning pain associated with vulvar vestibulitis is often the cause of painful sexual intercourse since it occurs at the opening of the vagina.  As a result, many women with the condition have an unhappy sexual life.  Vulvar vestibulitis can therefore have profound emotional and psychological consequences. 

Other symptoms of vulvar vestibulitis include rawness, soreness, and irritation in the vaginal area.

Is There A Cure For Vulvar Vestibulitis?

Vulvar vestibulitis can be cured by treating the underlying cause, which is an altered vaginal microflora pattern.  An altered vaginal microflora pattern is one that differs from the normal patterns of flora. 

Diagnosing an altered vaginal microflora pattern can be done with a  vaginal fluid analysis (VFA) test.  The VFA test is an innovative diagnostic technique that was developed by board-certified gynecologist Dr. R. Stuart Fowler of Fowler GYN International (FGI). 

The VFA Test

The VFA test provides an analysis of the type and quantity of organisms in the vaginal fluid, to find out if the vaginal microflora is in a normal or altered state.  

The normal microflora contains a wide variety of microorganisms including good bacteria known as lactobacilli along with bad bacteria.  The lactobacilli maintain the health of the vagina by keeping the environment slightly acidic, and providing a protective barrier against invading organisms. 

If there is a disruption in the balance of bacteria in the vagina, it can cause lactobacilli levels to decrease and lead to an increase in bad bacteria. This situation is called an altered vaginal microflora pattern.

The vaginal secretions that come from the altered microflora irritate the vestibular tissue and generate the symptoms associated with vulvar vestibulitis.  

Treatment For Vulvar Vestibulitis

If the results of the VFA test indicate that the vaginal microflora is in an altered state, a customized treatment plan is formulated.  The treatment protocol uses medications and hypocontactant skincare products to move the vaginal microflora towards normal.  

It typically takes 8-12 months to achieve an ideal response from a treatment plan for vulvar vestibulitis.  The speed of the results depends on the response rate of the microflora.   However, patients generally see some improvement after about four months. 

It has been observed that contact irritants may contribute to vulvar vestibulitis.  Consequently,  FGI recommends that patients move away from the use of scented feminine hygiene products that have potentially irritating chemicals. 

Vulvar vestibulitis can be cured, but it is crucial to consult with a vulvovaginal specialist that has the necessary equipment, training, and expertise to treat the condition.

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