Researchers have found that about 16 percent of females suffer from vulvodynia at some point in their lives in the United States. Vulvodynia can exist for up to years if left untreated. It adversely affects the quality of life by causing discomfort in daily activities.
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Many females don’t seek medical treatment because they feel embarrassed discussing this condition. It can exacerbate the symptoms; therefore, women are always recommended to go with proper treatment for vulvodynia. Home remedies are the option if anyone doesn’t want to use conventional treatment. Here we will discuss all effective home remedies for vulvodynia in detail, so keep reading.
What Do You Mean By Vulvodynia?
Vulvodynia refers to chronic pain around the vulva (opening of the vagina). This pain usually exists without any identifiable cause and can continue for at least 12 weeks. It decreases the quality of life by causing difficulty in sitting and making intercourse uncomfortable. If left untreated, vulvodynia can continue for several months to years. The burning sensation, irritation, itching, and pain around the vulva worsen with time if you are not seeking medical attention.
Many females hesitate to discuss their condition, which prevents them from receiving proper treatment. Remember, only diagnosis can help you recover your condition effectively. Besides conventional treatment, you can proceed with home remedies. Therefore, if you’re experiencing chronic vulvar pain, you must undergo a diagnosis and use recovery strategies.
Symptoms Of Vulvodynia
The main vulvodynia symptom is pain around the vulva. This pain can be constant or occasional. You can feel this pain just around the vulva, or pain spreads to the entire vulvar region. Other symptoms associated with vulvodynia involve:
- Vulvar inflammation
- Burning sensation
- Soreness or stinging sensation
- Vulvar itching
- Painful intercourse
Causes Of Vulvodynia
The exact cause of vulvodynia is not known. However, studies have found that the following conditions can contribute to causing vulvodynia.
Vaginal Infection: Any bacterial or fungal attack causing chronic vaginal infections can be a reason for vulvodynia.
Vaginal Injury: Any injury disrupting the functioning of nerves providing impulses to the vulvar region can also lead to vulvodynia.
Hormonal Fluctuations: The adverse changes in the hormonal level in the female body can disturb the vaginal and vulvar physiology and result in chronic pain sensation.
Skin Allergies: Females with sensitive skin, when exposed to toxins using synthetic soaps, shampoo, perfumed sanitary products, or any other reason, can experience vulvar inflammation and pain.
Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles: Weakened pelvic floor muscles causing vaginal laxity can also lead to vulvodynia.
Home Remedies For Vulvodynia
Several home remedies help patients alleviate the pain. Similarly, vulvar pain or vulvodynia can also be cured by some effective home remedies. Below are mentioned all home remedies which can help females efficiently treat vulvodynia.
Apply Hot Compression
Applying hot compression is a commonly used home remedy for alleviating different types of pain, including vulvodynia. Warm compression, when applied on the vulvar area, increases blood flow. It is because of the sensation of high temperature at some body parts that will stimulate the body to increase blood flow. It allows the dissipation of excessive heat from the body through the skin and causes the body to maintain a normal body temperature.
This increased blood flow maintains the body temperature and causes the vulvar muscles to relax. Relaxation of smooth muscles in the vulva further alleviates vulvodynia (pain is caused by muscular contraction). Hot compression is proven the simplest and most convenient method for females looking to alleviate the discomfort and pain in the vulva.
But how to apply hot compression to the vulva? The simplest method is using a heated cloth, such as a towel, to apply heat. Heat the towel or other selected thick cloth in a microwave oven. Heat only up to a bearable temperature, not damaging to vulvar skin. Then, apply it around the vulva for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
Apply Cold Compression
Besides hot compression, cold compression can also be an effective home remedy for females looking to cure vulvodynia. Unlike hot compression, cold compression decreases the nerve’s activity ending in the muscle fibers. Reduced nerve activity alleviates the pain sensation in the vulvar muscles. But how does cold compression reduce nerve activity?
Remember, the cold temperature reduces the frequency of nerves conducting toward the brain. When the brain receives only a few impulses signaling the pain sensation in the vulva, it will help the body feel a reduction in vulvodynia intensity. So, the females who do not find hot compression relaxing can go with the analgesic effects of cold compression. For this home remedy, you have to wrap ice cubes in a towel or a thick cloth and then apply it around the vulvar region. Never apply ice directly to the genitals.
Soak In Salt Water Bath
Sitting in a saltwater bath for at least half an hour can help females reduce vulvodynia. Saltwater can relax the muscles, which further helps alleviate pain. It also can reduce inflammation, which can otherwise be a potent reason for causing pain. Females experiencing vulvodynia due to bacterial or fungal infection can also benefit from this home remedy. It is because of the ability of salt to clear out bacteria and fungi and prevent their colonization.
Add 2 to 3 cups of Epsom salt to the bath tube for a saltwater bath. Stir it well with a bathtub eater. Sit and relax in the tube for at least 30 minutes. You can repeat this remedy once daily.
Use Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another effective home remedy for curing vulvodynia. The healing properties of coconut oil are mentioned, which can help females reduce pain in the vulvar region.
- Coconut oil maintains the vaginal pH. The increased acidity of the vagina due to any reason, such as a bacterial attack, can also be a potent reason for vulvodynia.
- Coconut oil provides lubrication. It prevents the vulvar region from being dry and rough. Dryness of the vulvar skin can exacerbate irritation, itching, and pain.
- This oil has antibacterial properties. Lauric acid is the specific compound in coconut oil that acts as an antibacterial agent. It can help females who are experiencing vulvodynia because of the bacterial attack. It accelerates the removal of infectious bacteria from the vulva, thus alleviating the pain.
For effective results, females can apply coconut oil twice a day. For coconut oil application, pour a small volume of oil into a bowl (enough to soak cotton properly). Take a cotton swab, dip it in the oil—squeeze it to extract extra oil, and apply it around the vulva.
Take Neem-Water Bath
Neem leaves are the most effective home remedy for curing bacterial and fungal infections. The antiseptic properties are because of a specific compound known as Azadirachta, mainly present in significant amounts in neem seeds. As discussed above, vaginal infection can be the leading cause of vulvodynia; neem leaves can cure this pain by curing infections.
To take a neem-water bath, you need neem leaves. Take a handful of neem leaves, and wash them properly to make sure no dust is left on the leaves. Boil these leaves in a small amount of water (you can take 4 to 5 cups). After boiling, strain the leaves from the extract. Add this extract to your bathtub water and relax in it for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also directly use this neem extract after cooling for washing the vulva. As an alternative to neem leaves, neem oil can also be used.
Drink Cranberry Juice
Drinking cranberry juice is the best home remedy for curing fungal infections. Females experiencing vulvodynia due to fungal vaginosis can benefit from the antifungal abilities of cranberry juice. It will help females flush out the yeast from the vagin and maintain the vaginal pH.
Women should drink freshly prepared cranberry juice. Packed cranberry juice contains artificial sweeteners and flavoring agents, which offer more harm than benefits. Grind some cranberries, lemon, water, and a few lemons together. You can add natural sweeteners such as honey to boost your taste.
When suffering from vulvodynia, there are some adaptations that every woman must have to keep in mind.
Use light-colored cotton underwear: Using dark-colored underwear manufactured with relatively hard fabric can exacerbate the irritation and pain in the vulvar region. These kinds of underwear are not considered healthy for genitals. Therefore, females are recommended to use light-colored cotton underwear.
Avoid wearing tight clothing: Wearing tight clothing can exacerbate vulvodynia by putting pressure on the genital muscles. Try wearing loose-fitting clothes until you recover properly from vulvodynia.
Avoid Exposure To Chemicals: Females should avoid using scented tampons and sanitary pads while suffering from vulvodynia. Also, avoid washing the vulvar region with scented shampoos and soaps. Also, make sure the toilet paper you use is free of chemicals.
Prevent Vulvar Dryness: Try to keep the skin around the vulva moist by using natural oils and chemical-free moisturizers. Dry skin can further exacerbate itching and pain.
Avoid Putting Pressure On Vulva: Avoid physical activities such as bicycling, which can pressure the vulvar region.
Make Dietary Changes
Studies have shown that females suffering from vulvodynia should avoid food that makes urine more acidic. Chocolates, nuts, a spicy diet, and any other acidic food must be avoided by females. In a few types of research, low-oxalate food is recommended for women with vulvodynia. Women suffering from vulvodynia have been found to have high levels of oxalates in their urine. Changing the diet, and eliminating the oxalate-rich sources from the food, helped these females recover effectively.
Therefore, it is recommended that females avoid soy foods, bran cereal, whole wheat, spinach, nuts, celery, beetroot, and berries. Also, avoid food that can trigger irritable bowel syndrome. However, the connection between IBS and vulvodynia has yet to be known. But It has been found that adding the triggering food, such as gluten, can exacerbate the symptoms of vulvodynia.
Now, you must be all aware of the home remedies for vulvodynia.
Females can use any of the home remedies mentioned above to alleviate vulvar pain. Besides remedies, it is crucial to adopt some lifestyle changes. Also, cut off the oxalate-rich food from your daily diet. Be careful about vulvar hygiene; otherwise, symptoms can worsen.