Of the many things that can go wrong with your business down south, vulvodynia is sounds like it’s one of the most annoying: It’s chronic pain around the opening of your vagina, and it has no medically identifiable cause. You just hurt. Just because.
Annoying? Seriously? That’s like calling…
- If feels like you’re wearing pants made of sandpaper, especially if the pants are attractive. Vulvodynia likes to make sure no sexy stuff is ever allowed. So that when you hang your washing up, everyone can have a good laugh at the 19 year old who wears girl boxers and granny pants.
- When you sit, it’s like someone has mischievously placed a butchers knife on your chair, and it goes straight into your Lala.
- Don’t even think about touching it. Even running water over it in a shower is painful. Don’t even think about a bubble bath or a nice smelling body wash.
- It feels like you’re passing a kidney stone every time you pee, and then after the pee, you’re stinging all day.
- It itches constantly, and it’s not like a “oh I have a yeast infection” itch, it’s an infinite itch that hurts never goes away. It’s not caused by bacteria, or poor hygiene, or body wash, or non-cotton pantaloons. It’s simply nerve pain, taking a minor form of itching, like maggots eating away at you. Like when you have a piercing or a cut, and it constantly itches. It’s not annoying when it’s a cut. But it is when it’s “down there.”
- When you walk around, it’s just constantly nipping, stinging, and it feels like you’ve caught your whole vaginal area in the zip of your jeans. Even though it isn’t touching anything.
- When you try to sleep, the pain likes to take a wee rocket upwards, just to make sure.
- When you are sleeping, your body is so stressed with pain, it doesn’t rest. You’re always tired. Hence, leads to chronic fatigue. Not laziness.
- You get depressed, anxious and lonely. Isolated, scared and mentally shunned from normality.
- All the while, your skin looks perfectly normal, the doctors tell you you’re imagining it, and everyone keeps talking about their normal lives, while you hide your worst enemy in your pants…
Empathising so much with the writer of this post. They articulated so well all the awfulness of vulvodynia. I do feel like half a person. I feel like a ghost inhabiting a hostile body. I miss penetrative sex. I miss when sex was easy and joyful and wonderful, before it became this painful thing. My vulvodynia/vaginismus came on after some traumatic experiences and I can’t deal with having pain there, it brings back such awful memories. [Trigger Warning for Sexual Abuse] Feeling pain down there exacerbates my PTSD symptoms and it feels like there are phantom penises inside me, phantom fingers touching me, and it feels like my body is permanently damaged and I will never be able to escape what happened to me. I feel defective.
On that note I really didn’t appreciate the ‘I didn’t get it through being a little skank’ comment. It was jarring to come across. Suddenly I didn’t empathise so much anymore. I know there is a disclaimer at the bottom and maybe it was meant in an affectionate, jokey way but it was still upsetting. I get feeling envious of sexually active women but I don’t think slut-shaming is the best way to express that. Also it implies if a promiscuous woman is having pelvic problems then she is to blame for her suffering. It just didn’t add anything. Same thing with the addendum adressing the cissexism. It felt tacked on at the end. The rest of the post is informative, it’s practically vulvodynia 101. Maybe those addendums could be integrated into the main body of the post, to make it more inclusive.
I’m not by any description ‘cured’ so I don’t want to end this ramble with false hope but if you are dealing with this then just try and take care of yourself. You deserve that much. Talk to someone. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable talking to people I know about this. More power to you if you don’t but you can always call a crisis line, like the samaritans, to vent when you are struggling.
In the meantime I’ll be writing angry letters to the NHS, trying to get them to devote more attention to vaginal problems. Vulvodynia isn’t even listed on the NHS Direct website as an illness, for fucks sake. (I remember going to look it up when I was diagnosed, and then having to take to wikipedia.)