Vulvodynia is chronic pain in the area around the opening of the vagina that occurs even when there is no obvious sign of infection or irritation. The pain can be so bad that it makes sitting or wearing pants uncomfortable. And sex can be downright unbearable. Conventional medicine does not understand the cause of this problem. Hormone replacement therapy, physical therapy, and trigger point injections are treatments commonly available. There are also self-care guidelines that can help make it more bearable, but do not cure it.
I’ve suffered from this condition on and off for about thirteen years. I tried biofeedback, multiple short duration yeast treatments, antidepressants, hormone replacement, and topical lidocaine gel. None was helpful. However, the pain has improved markedly in the last two years, and I want to share the things that worked for me.
Treat Chronic, Systemic Candida Infection
Few doctors understand how candida can cause problems even after a course of treatment. I found the work of Elmer Cranton, MD, http://drcranton.com/ and http://www.fungusfocus.com/html/triple_rx_treatment_strategy.htm and Marjorie Crandall, PhD, http://yeastconsulting.com to be helpful. Persistent or systemic candida means that the body is out of balance and can be a symptom of a larger problem (as those of us with Lyme Disease know). It can also mean that some species of candida were treated, but the more virulent ones remain and continue to cause problems.
Dr. Cranton advocates triple antifungal therapy to increase the chances of killing off multiple strains of this fungus. After trying natural antifungals to no avail, I finally asked my naturopath to try this therapy in 2012. For a minimum of three months I took:
- Oral Amphotericin B
I had no side effects, and no liver problems while on this protocol. Please note: none of these drugs will kill off all the fungus, but can bring the load down to a manageable level. Maintaining a healthy anti-yeast diet and taking effective probiotics (i.e. ones that actually colonize the gut) are also important.
Acupuncture and a Chinese herbal solution called Yin Care (http://www.yincare.com/) were also very helpful for me. Chinese medicine views vulvodynia as a condition of dampness, heat, and pathogenic organisms. Yin Care contains a number of herbs to combat pathogens and lower inflammation. Dilute it 1:1 or weaker, saturate a large cotton ball, and apply as a compress as often as needed until the discomfort subsides. This stuff works like a charm for me. I keep a bottle on hand just in case.
Energy Medicine: NAET and BioSET
These treatments use the approach of desensitizing the body from allergens. We can become “allergic” to anything, but especially to things that we are exposed to regularly. After prolonged antifungal therapy, my Bioset practitioner treated me for candida sensitivity, and also suggested that other substances can be causing the discomfort down there. Cotton and urine are also two common triggers of vulvodynia! Both of these things are rather hard to avoid, right? Going pantyless at night and rinsing after urination are helpful. Semen can also be an irritant for some women.
The nice thing about NAET and Bioset techniques is that you can treat yourself at home. I’ll talk more about this in my next post.
I hope his information is helpful to other women with this miserable condition.