Gynecology / Women's Health Expert Forum
Vulvar Pain
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Vulvar Pain

Since May of last year I've been experiencing vulvar pain. First I will feel an itching sensation, which usually lasts a couple of days. Then, I'll feel a single twinge of pain, and then a "raw" feeling that lasts a couple of days. No pain during urination. Additionally, I have a general discomfort (burning sensation) in my vaginal area that is especially noticeable when I wipe. Not when I urinate, only when I wipe. There is a tiny "cut" next to my vagina that seems to form in the same place during my menstral cycle. The area is itchy, then painful. Sometimes I'll feel twinges of pain in the area between my hip and groin. When a red painful spot showed up on my clitoris, I saw my PCP, who said "herpes" after glancing at it, and with no testing. At the suggestion of a friend, I went to local clinic for HSV testing. After exam, nurse practitioner did not suspect herpes. The red spot has not recurred. She did a culture of vulva/vagina, which came back negative for HSV. However, the area on my vulva/vestibule is now discolored. There is general redness and brown spots that look like scars. I have since been back 3 times for same problem (no red spot, only vaginal and vulvar symptoms persist). Over an 8-month period I have tested negative for HSV 1/2 on 2 subsequent cultures, and 3 antibody tests. Had a very expensive trip to dermatologist. He did a biopsy of vulva (very painful, with much blood and stitches). The results showed what he called "thickening of the tissue due to unknown irritation". That was a very expensive and not very helpful answer. Meanwhile, I've tested negative for HPV (low-risk & high-risk), negative for clamydia (chlamydia), gonnorhea (Gonorrhea), syphilis, etc.(pardon the mispellings). This has been going on for some time now, nearly a year (vulvar/vaginal itching, and recurrent cut at left of vagina). At the time it started I had a single partner. My only partner for approximately a 5-year period. I asked him if he'd had a history of HSV. He said no. However, during the year we dated, I noticed he would occasionally get a rash on his belly (below bellybutton) which he attributed to allergic reaction to sweat and belt buckle. He would also get a rash around wrist, under his watch and at temples where glasses came in contact with skin. Prior to becomming intimate, we both were tested for HIV and the usual STD's -- according to him, all were negative (he did not actually show me). He did test positive for Hep C. As I understand it is related to his consumption of alcohol (which is sometimes excessive). He and I have since split up. However, I have become very depressed and anxious about this ongoing vulvar and vaginal discomfort. I've also developed a recurrent burning sensation on my buttocks and down the back of my thigh (right side). I have pain under and around my fingernails and pain in the joints of my fingers. I'll also have periodic weakness in my quadracept muscle and pain in my hip (left side). I've nearly fallen a couple of times. I do find relief in the negative results for the 6 HSV tests. But, what is it?  I cannot even begin to imagine being intimate with anyone until I have some answers. It would be irresponsible to be intimate with someone if I am contagious. What could possibly cause this continued vulvar/vaginal irritation and the burning sensation on my buttocks? Could the multitude of tests be inaccurate? What else should I test for? I appreciate you time.
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7 Comments
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Thank you for your kind words. They are greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, I went back to my PCP once more. For the first time in over a year he admitted he doesn't know what's causing the burning sensation or my other symptoms. That was strangely comforting to me. It was evidence of God's mercy.
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Avatar_n_tn
You may also want to check out the following website about vulvodynia: www.nva.org. That could be what you're experiencing, and a surprising number of OB/Gyns are not aware of it.

By the way, I also have the burning pain in my buttocks and back of the right thigh, which I think is probably a nerve problem related to compression in the lower back.
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Avatar_n_tn
Check out these two older message trails. I think you have something that it seems a lot of women here are battling with. I've had it for three years now and just went off the birth control pill two weeks ago and the symptoms (all of them) seem to have disappeared. I think it may be hormone related vaginitis but check out these forums, they may help.

http://www.medhelp.org/forums/WomensHealth/messages/674.html
http://www.medhelp.org/forums/WomensHealth/messages/188.html
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks blue eyes1 and medorita. I'll check them out. Meanwhile, I hope things are well with you.
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Avatar_n_tn
I placed this post in the STD forum just a day or so ago. I thought maybe some of this would sound familiar to you and you may have some advice to share...

At the end of March, I had sex with my now ex-boyfriend. We used a condom but did have unprotected oral sex. About two days later, I began experiencing what I thought were the symptoms of a yeast infection - redness, burning, and a slight increase is vaginal discharge. I used a three-day vaginal treatment but my symptoms continued. I went to my doctor and was tested for STDs (including herpes) and yeast/BV infections, all of which came back negative. My doctor did a vaginal exam and could see nothing irregular and nothing that looked like a sore or lesion.

My symptoms continue to reoccur every month. The only time I really feel any relief is during my period and the week following. I have been back to the doctor for two more visits with the same result. I am greatly concerned that this might be a herpes infection. Since the doctors can not find anything to swab, I have to rely on blood testing. (Does anyone know how many weeks you have to wait after your last sexual encounter to have an accurate result? I have read everything from 9 weeks to 16 weeks.)

I am feeling frustrated because the doctors are beginning to treat me as if this is all in my head. My pain is not overwhelming, but it is difficult being in discomfort on a daily basis.

Other information and symptoms that someone might recognize...

1. I was put on two antibiotics, amoxicillin and clindamycin, in months prior to this (February and the end of April) for other health issues. I had to treat myself for a yeast infection following the amoxicillin treatment.

2. I am on birth control pills. I am currently 27 and have been using them since I was about 17.

3. I have always struggled with vaginal dryness. Using tampons was sometimes uncomfortable.

4. I have had bacterial infections in the past.

5. I have noticed flaky, peeling skin on my outer labia as well as a small fissure at the top of my labia. The fissure healed with an application of OTC antibiotic cream.

6. I get aches in my thighs from time to time.

7. The pain and irritation will subside and then return, sometimes after a few hours, sometimes the next day.

8. Irritation seems the most prominent on my outer labia and in the central area near my clitoris.

9. I had a couple of very irregular periods in February and March as well. The first time it occurred, I had virtually no period and my doctor checked for pregnancy. (I used to have a heavier flow that lasted only a few days.  My flow is now lighter and last for a longer span.)

I will be going back for a 3 month herpes blood test in about 4 weeks.

If anyone has any information that they can share, I would greatly appreciate it!
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Avatar_n_tn
I hope you find relief soon. I feel like I can say, "I know how you feel" as I have had discomfort on and off (feels like mostly "on") for the past two years.  I have had trouble with cuts in my outer folds for years, but things have seemingly gotten more bothersome and more frequent over the last 2 years.  It seems that things started going down hill after I had an IUD placed.  I have since had it removed, but the symptoms still persist in different forms.  I have been treated for Group B Strep several times, (seems to have cleared up since I had the IUD removed), yeast (even though it wasn't), and most recently was diagnosed with Herpes 2 after showing the GYN the perpetual cut that comes and goes often.  My cuts do not always appear in the same place like yours.  After being diagnosed, I took a 5 day treatment of Valtrex and that seemed to help a little, but on the last day of the treatment a new cut appeared. Since then, I have struggled with cuts appearing and healing sometimes as quickly as overnight, others that last several days. It has now been almost two months since I went in for my GYN appt and blood test.  Other symptoms that I'm dealing with are: vaginal dryness throughout the day, sometimes a burning feeling on the inside, redness, swelling and itchiness.  I decided at the beginning of June I was going to try my best not to be preoccupied with my vagina (sounds funny i know...but when its uncomfortable you want to know what's going on down there!!)  Anyway, I decided I was getting a little too crazy about it and maybe it was all psychosymatic (sp?).  (Still, even that doesn't explain the cuts, redness and swelling.  Itchiness I can see...after all, think about head lice long enough and your head will itch!)  I've had a couple of pretty good days.  The swelling in my labia seems to have lessened, not sure about the cuts as I was trying not to look.  Today, I did sneak a peek since I was feeling a little more itchy, irritated and had a slight burning on the inside.  Sure enough, another cut on the outside, and the inside of my vagina is red and irritated looking. There doesn't seem to be much swelling though. I'm just at my wits end about this as I'm tired of being uncomfortable. I'm going to start on a daily suppressive therapy and see if that helps the cuts.  If it doesn't, I'm going back for another Herpes Test as one of the doctors mentioned it could be a false positive if you are positive for 1 and your 2 results are between 1.0 and 3.0 (mine was 3.0).  I TRULY feel that there is something else going on.  I've done a lot of reading and there seems to be a lot of us (herpes positive and negative) with cuts-not to mention the other symptoms- and not too many answers.  I know this is a long post, but I wanted to let you compare my symptoms with yours and know that you're not alone.  Let me know if you find out anything!  Best wishes
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Avatar_n_tn
Check out  vulvodynia.com ,  yahoo groups:  vulvar disorders, vulvodynia support or happy pelvis      They are a good place to get a lot of ideas on possible treatments.

Also look into hormone imbalances, they can tend to cause a lot of the vaginal cuts or tears.

Seek out a specialist or a doc who deals with a lot of pelvic pain patients. Chronic pain can lead to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. The tightended muscles can aggravate the nerves in the area causing the burning with no apparent cause.   You also might want to check out possible food alergies (allergies).
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