Vulvodynia is not a condition in itself but rather the medical term for persistent discomfort in the vulva, the parts of female genitalia that are outside the body. The issue affects less than ten percent of women at some point in their reproductive lives. This condition affects multiple aspects of a woman’s life; because it is uncommon and easily dismissed, this can include mental health.
There are two subtypes of vulvodynia: generalized and localized. Generalized vulvodynia is constant pain anywhere around the vulva with some periods of relief, while localized vulvodynia affects one site. One kind of localized vulvodynia is vestibulodynia, which affects the vulva vestibule where the labia minora, the urethral opening, and the vaginal opening exist. Vestibulodynia is provoked by activities such as tampon insertion, prolonged sitting, and sexual intercourse. Clitorodynia, pain in the clitoris, is another uncommon form of localized vulvodynia and is more painful than vestibulodynia.
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