Throughout the course of one’s life people may suffer from all sorts of painful conditions. However, dealing with Vestibulodynia can be one of the most frustrating of them all. There are times when women may have to deal with the pain for months and have tried numerous treatments for pain relief with little or no effective results. As the Vulval Pain Society explains the condition: “It is difficult for many women (and some doctors) to understand the condition. There are many conditions that it is not! It is not infectious, it is not related to cancer, it will not spread to other parts of your body and you will not pass it on to your partner.”
Because there is so little understanding of the problem it is difficult for a doctor to know how to treat it successfully. They may try any number of possible ways to relieve the pain including a local anesthetic gel, which can numb the nerves in the affected area and temporarily ease the pain. They may also use vaginal dilators to relax the muscles around the entrance to the vagina to “gently stretch the area.” This method can be very effective in releasing tension in the pelvic muscles that can be contributing to the pain; or they may prescribe antidepressants to treat the pain. In extreme causes, some medical professionals may have even suggested surgery in order to help relieve the pain. It is clear that without fully understanding the source of the problem different doctors have developed completely different theories on how to treat this painful condition.
Many of these treatment options can cause major disruption to one’s life; the fact that there is so much confusion surrounding the condition and its root leaves the door open for many possible ways of treating it. The success of the treatment results can vary from one woman to the next. As the Women’s Health Concern comments: “As Vestibulodynia is such a difficult condition to diagnose, there is no single way of treating it. The effectiveness of treatments will vary from woman to woman. It is a case of testing to see which methods suit your needs the best.”
For those women who have already tried medications, birth control, and topical treatments with little or no success, they may be inclined to look for alternative remedies that may be able to bring them relief.
Alternative Treatments for Vestibulodynia
Usually medication is the first line of defense in such cases; quite often a prescription of tricyclic antidepressants are recommended since they are known to reduce pain in chronic conditions. However, if medication does not provide relief, alternative treatments may be the only option.
Biofeedback is a way to teach the body how to change its response to pain. With biofeedback, the patient is taught that relaxation is the secret to reducing pain levels. Focusing on relaxing the pelvic muscles can reduce some of the pain you may be experiencing.
Doctors may also recommend physical therapy to strengthen your pelvic floor through various exercises or introduce transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS therapy to help with the pain.
One of the possible risks from using the many methods used to treat Vestibulodynia is that without fully understanding the problem the treatment used may actually exacerbate it. One can only imagine that if those who are medical experts in the field are having a difficult time wrapping their minds around the issue, that it would be even more difficult for the women who are experiencing this type of pain. Women need to have reliable information that can help them understand their condition better. While there is no definitive cause for the condition, there is a wealth of information in the form of articles in medical journals, books, websites, and even patient associations are there to help them to learn more about the condition and what things they can do to work on to get relief.
How TENS Can Help
TENS units have been recommended to help relieve much of the nerve or muscular pain that comes with Vestibulodynia. They generally work by supplying an electrical impulse that stimulates the muscles in the affected area. These machines are often recommended for a number of different nerve or muscular pain conditions. By electronically stimulating the muscles, they can send messages to the brain changing the way the body senses pain.
When having to deal with chronic pain like Vestibulodynia, often patients have to shift their focus on how to treat the condition. Unlike in many other cases where the solution lies in finding the root cause that is not the case with Vestibulodynia. Since as of yet the source of the problem has not be discovered, pain management treatments like therapy with the TENS unit may be the best option. Not only is it non-invasive and non-toxic, it can also provide a certain level of relief that will help to improve the quality of life for the patient.