Vulvodynia in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome

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There is Chronic Pain in Women’s External Genitalia.

Vulvodynia is a chronic pain condition that often overlaps with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. It affects the external portion of female genitalia known ad vulva. Vulvodynia can have great impact on your life, as it is common in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, so it should not be considered as a symptom, it is a separate condition and it needs treatment.

Any source of pain has the potential to make your fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome more severe, so it makes treatment especially important. There is no obvious source that can bring pain and discomfort in vulvodynia. There is no obvious injury, the tissues seems healthy, there is no infection which can be blamed. However that does not mean that it is not real. Because you feel, you are forced to believe that it is real.


Its symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe debilitating pain, it can move around or restrict in one area. It may come and go, or it may b sharp or diffuse. Symptoms include:

  • >>Burning or stinging
  • >>Rawness
  • >>Itching
  • >>Throbbing
  • >>Overall soreness

Vulvodynia can cause pain during sexual intercourse, exercise, sitting, and other aspects of daily function. Medical sciences have identified various types of vulvodynia and each one has a unique set of symptoms.


The exact cause is still unknown but doctors believe that certain factors can contribute its development including a history of vaginal infection, past injury, hormonal changes, skin allergies, or hypersensitivities. However these factors are not necessary for developing this condition. It is not sexually transmitted disease, and it is not the sign of something serious like cancer.


You should tell your doctor what you are experiencing that is first step towards your diagnosis. You may feel uncomfortable in disclosing what you feel, but it is important and that path will lead to a better life. Before diagnosing vulvodynia a good doctor will likely to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms, such as skin conditions, bacterial or yeast infection, and other medical conditions.

Treatment and management

A large variety of treatments are available that will help you to fight with the symptoms of vulvodynia. They include:

Medications: Tricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsants may help to reduce the pain (they do not mean that you are depressed or that it is all in your head). Antihistamines (allergy drugs) may help with itching.

>>Topical creams Cortisone or estrogen creams are sometimes effective.

>>Myofascial release This technique can reduce pain in the pelvic muscles. Antidepressant and anticonvulsants are common treatments for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Your doctor can prescribe you best drugs that suit well with your condition. If you seeing more than one doctor than make sure all of them knows details about the medication you are taking. By making a few changes in your daily routine, you can manage your symptoms, these changes include

  • >>Keeping soaps and other hygiene products away from vulva.
  • >>Wearing loose-fitting underwear. Clothing is also a common cause of pain in people with fibromyalgia.

Vulvodynia in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome

Researchers still not the exact cause why vulvodynia is common in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, but they believe that all the conditions share a common mechanism known as central sensitization. In central sensitization the central nervous system brain and spinal cord become hypersensitive to unpleasant stimuli. That can include pressure, noise, smells and chemicals; sometimes it involves the skin as well.


Women with vulvodynia can struggle with more than pain. It makes you feel isolated especially if you have problems with having sex that can have a bad impact on your relationship. You cannot talk freely about what you are going through due to embarrassment that can further isolate you from people. Some people will not believe in your pain of vulvodynia that can make you feel worse.

That can especially come from your sexual partner when you avoid sex that will make him feel rejected. Open communication can resolve the hurt feelings of both of you. You may want to consider couples counseling as well. Vulvodynia can lead to depression like any chronic condition. Talk to your doctor about the treatment options available if you feel you can be depressed.


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For reference: By Adrienne Dellwo via VeryWell Sources: > Arnold LD, et al. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology. 2007 Feb;196(2):128.e1-6. Assessment of vulvodynia symptoms in a sample of US women: a prevalence survey with a nested case control study. > Arnold LD, et al. Obstetrics and gynecology. 2006 Mar;107(3):617-24. Vulvodynia: characteristics and associations with comorbidities and quality of life. >Carter JE. JSLS: Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons. 1998 Apr-Jun;2(2):129-39. Surgical treatment for chronic pelvic pain. > Hartmann D, Strauhal MJ, Nelson CA. Journal of reproductive medicine. 2007 Jan;52(1):48-52. Treatment of women in the United States with localized, provoked vulvodynia: practice survey of women’s health physical therapists. >Smith HS, Harris R, Clauw D. Pain physician. 2011 Mar-Apr;14(2):E217-45. Fibromyalgia: an afferent processing disorder leading to a complex pain generalized syndrome.  

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