What is vestibulodynia and how to treat it?


Vestibulodynia, also known as vulvar vestibulitis, is a specific form of vulvodynia . As a reminder, vulvodynia is the term to define chronic pain in the vulva.

Vestibulodynia is characterized by chronic vulvar pain and increased sensitivity specifically localized at the vestibule , at the entrance to the vagina.

This condition causes pain and burning sensations during vaginal penetration, sexual intercourse, insertion of tampons or even light pressure on the vulvar area.

Vestibulodynia 1


Symptoms of vestibulodynia can vary from woman to woman, but they generally include:

  1. Severe pain or discomfort during vaginal penetration.
  2. Burning or tingling sensation in the vulvar area.
  3. Pain when touched or pressured in the vestibular area.
  4. Discomfort during sexual activities, which can lead to problems in sex life and relationship difficulties.
  5. Persistent irritation or pain even outside of sexual intercourse.


The pain is most often triggered by contact, this is called provoked vestibulodynia. There may also sometimes be redness present in the painful area, but this redness does not explain the pain.

The exact cause of vestibulodynia is not always clear, but several factors can contribute to its development, including muscle problems, infections, past trauma, hormonal imbalances, or abnormal immune responses. Some women may also have a genetic predisposition to this condition.

vestibulodynia 2


The diagnosis of vestibulodynia is usually made by a gynecologist or sexual health specialist, after excluding other possible causes of pelvic pain . Treatment options vary depending on the severity of symptoms and underlying factors.

To best treat vestibulodynia it is relevant to implement a multidimensional approach : medicinal, physical and psychological. Possible treatments may be:

  1. Physical therapy : Pelvic rehabilitation exercises and massage of the area can help loosen tight or spasmodic muscles around the vulvar vestibule.
  2. Creams or ointments : Some women may benefit from applying local anesthetic creams or ointments to reduce pain.
  3. Behavioral therapy : Therapy as well as psychological monitoring can help manage pain and reduce anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT) have demonstrated their effectiveness in the context of vestibulodynia. The goal of therapy is to help develop coping mechanisms to deal with pain. We target maladaptive beliefs about pain and their influence on behavior. Once identified, we question them and replace them with thoughts more appropriate for the healing process.
  4. Hormonal treatment : In some cases, hormonal treatment may be recommended to correct hormonal imbalances .
  5. Medications : A doctor may prescribe medications to reduce pain and inflammation , muscle relaxants or even tricyclic antidepressants to treat anxiety generated by pain and neuropathic pain.
  6. Biofeedback : Also called biological feedback, biofeedback is a technique allowing the patient to become aware of the functioning of certain parts of their body. Used in the case of perineal rehabilitation, biofeedback helps the patient to become aware of their perineum in order to be able to strengthen it by strengthening it through exercises. This technique helps to become aware of the pelvic muscles and relax them.
  7. Lubricant : A lubricant, preferably water-based and with a good composition, can help reduce pain during intercourse. However, you must be careful that the products do not contain allergenic or irritating ingredients.

It is essential to consult a health professional to obtain an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan adapted to each situation. Vestibulodynia can have a significant impact on the quality of life, sexual life and psychological state of women: They may feel anxiety, guilt, shame and experience a sharp drop in their libido.

Proper care can help improve quality of life and reduce painful symptoms . To talk about your pain, do not hesitate to contact a specialized dermatologist, a midwife, a gynecologist or even a sexologist. All these specialists will be able to understand your pain , monitor your treatment and evaluate the effectiveness of the solutions proposed over time.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.