Vulvodynia and Hispanics: Why Are You More At Risk?

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How is it diagnosed? 

To diagnose vulvodynia, a doctor will typically do physical exams and tests, according to The American College of Physicians and GynecologistsA doctor examines the vulva and vagina carefully, and may take a sample of discharge from the vagina to test for signs of yeast and other infections. 

swab (QTip) test may also be performed. For this, a doctor will use a swab to touch different areas of the vulva to find the location of the pain and determine how intense it is. Depending on the doctor and the patient, other tests may be administered to determine the cause of the pain.

How is it treated?

Because there are a variety of reasons why a woman might be suffering from vulvodynia, there are also a variety of ways to treat it. Depending on what a doctor determines is the cause of the vulvar pain, an appropriate treatment will be prescribed. This can range from topical treatments, oral medications, pelvic floor muscle therapy, diet modification, or even surgery.

Sometimes, vulvar pain can be caused by an outside factor: such as the way a person stands or the chair they're using at work. Often times, when these issues are resolved, the pain goes away on its own.  

Dr. Dena Harris stresses that this is a highly treatable condition that women should seek help for. There's no excuse for a life in pain, especially when a wide variety of treatments are available. "So many people get better," Dr. Harris says, "It would be a shame for them not to get help."

For more information about vulvodynia, visit the National Vulvodynia Association and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology websites. 

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About this author

Cristina Arreola, Editorial Assistant

Originally from El Paso, Texas, Cristina Mari Arreola earned her degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University before moving to BrooklynNew York. In her downtime, you can usually find her scouring the city for the most authentic Mexican food (still looking...), scaring herself silly watching horror movies, or baking her favorite sweets. You can follow her on Twitter at @c_arreola

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