Women's Health Matters

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Vulvodynia can be physically and emotionally distressing. It can interfere with a woman’s physical activities and sex life. Many women living with vulvodynia also feel tremendously isolated. They believe that none of their friends or family members will understand their condition, and they worry about the reactions of their romantic partners.

For women in this situation, effective medical care is crucial, as is the emotional support of others with similar experiences. Joining a support group or connecting online with other women who also have vulvodynia might help. Several chat groups and forums for women with vulvodynia have been created, which allow women to share their experiences and fears, with the anonymity of online interaction. One of the busiest of these chat rooms can be found on the vulvodynia.com website.

Romantic and Sexual Relationships

Women in established sexual relationships are often worried about the feelings of their partners. Partners may feel rejected when a woman is unable to participate in sexual activities the couple previously enjoyed. Communication is key here. You will need to explain to your partner exactly what is happening to you. If your partner is interested, it may be helpful to bring him or her to some of your doctor's appointments. Remember that even without intercourse, there are still lots of sexual activities you and your partner can enjoy, without causing you pain! Oral sex is often less painful than intercourse. It may also help to remind your partner that you also miss the option of sexual intercourse.

If you are single, life can be even more complicated. Although your condition may make some sexual activities unthinkable, you have just as much of a right to physical intimacy and a loving relationship as anyone else. You don't need to explain your medical condition on the first date! When the time comes to start talking about intimacy, you will likely have to do some educating. Be prepared, but don't stake everything on your partner's first reaction. He or she is trying to absorb a lot of new information. If some time for reflection doesn't help, it is not your fault. There will be other opportunities in your future, with more sensitive and realistic partners.

Practical Tips

There are plenty of simple things you can do to manage your symptoms. The National Vulvodynia Association as great tips on coping.

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