What is Vulvar Vestibulitis | Counseling | Therapy

What is Vulvar Vestibulitis

Jennifer Foust, PhD, MS, LPC , MS, LPC, PHD — Clinical director

what is vulvar vestibulitis: sex therapy image

You may have never heard of vulvar vestibulitis. Or maybe you are afraid that you have it and you are too scared to attempt sex therapy? Vulvar vestibulitis is an inflammation in the vestibule, otherwise known as the vaginal opening. The inflammation causes symptoms such as burning, itching, painful intercourse, painful urination and even pain with wearing different types of clothing and prolonged sitting. Some women only feel pain when touching the vestibule or attempting penetration with a tampon, gynecologic speculum, a finger or a penis. Other women report that the feel pain all the type even without the area being touched. While the condition is chronic, the pain can be effectively managed with the proper medical treatment. For people struggling with how to manage this condition, sex therapy is beneficial. A sex therapist, trained in this area can help you adapt to the changes that your condition requires. For many women and couples this means redefining ones definition and expression sexuality. Additionally, sex therapy can help you learn to manage your feelings and potential fears about dating, starting a new relationship, as well as any strain that may be placed on a significant relationship. Sex therapy can also help you to manage your feelings and potential fears about dating and starting a new relationship.

It is unclear what causes vulvar vestibulitis. For example, some women report a history of yeast infections and bacterial infections. Other women report irritation to chemicals such as those found in laundry detergents and soaps. Still other women have no idea what may have contributed to the development of it. Some women report having had it their whole lives; while, other women report developing it after having no symptoms prior. Treatments are just as varied and not all treatments are effective for all women. Often a trial and error approach is necessary.

What do you do if you think that you may have vulvar vestibulitis? The first step is to go to your primary care doctor or to a gynecologist. If this doctor is unable to treat the problem, ask for a referral to a specialist that deals in vaginal/vulvar irritation. You may have to try a few medical doctors before you find one that can help you and with whom you feel comfortable. Once a diagnosis has been made, working with a sex therapist, who has a specialty in helping clients with Vulvar Vestibulitis can help you learn to manage it – so that it does not manage you. Please note – the treatment of Vulvar Vestibulitis is a sub-specialty within the field of sex therapy. Not all sex therapists have training in this area. Before embarking upon work with anyone in this area, make sure that they have a true understanding of this condition. Simply engaging in sexual exercises that are meant to foster better communication is not enough.

Most importantly, don’t lose hope. Although there are unknowns with this condition, and not all treatments work for each individual, one will work for you. While this condition may be chronic there are techniques that can help you learn to manage this condition more effectively. You can still be a sexual person who derives pleasure from sexuality.

You can self schedule an online or inperson therapy appointment, or you can call 215 922 5683 x 100 and speak with a therapist today.

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