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Vaginas - What Can Go Wrong?

Posted in Sexual Health 15 Jul, 2015

Vaginas, vagina, vaginas. Are you giggling? You might not be after you've read what can go wrong with them…

Vaginismus

This is a distressing problem whereby the vaginal muscles clench so tightly that nothing can get in - no penises, no tampons. The clenched pelvic floor muscles cause painful spasms, with the sufferer having little control over them.

The treatment is a two-pronged attack. Firstly psychological treatment, as vaginismus may be triggered by traumatic past sexual experiences. Secondly it's about gaining control over those pelvic floors. Using a dilator in the vagina may help train the muscles.

Vulvodynia

This is chronic pain at the opening of the vagina. A burning worse than accidently inhaling neat bleach, because walking, sitting and sex can all be painful. For some reason the vaginal glands become inflamed. Doctors don't yet know what causes the inflammation so there's no treatment that cures the condition; it's about trying to manage the symptoms to provide some relief.

Lichen Sclerosus

Woah, that is one scary name. Lichen Sclerosus is a condition that usually starts when you are peri-menopausal, that is, when your body is winding down the oestrogen production. The symptoms are itchy white plaques on the vaginal skin. Think vaginal eczema. It can be treated with steroids or oestrogen creams.

Blocked Hymen

A blocked hymen is like a dam preventing period blood escaping. It builds up inside, causing a lot of pain. It's an easy operation to perform once it's been diagnosed. Diagnosis usually happens when a girl hits puberty and begin to menstruate.

Bartholin's Gland

Bartholin Gland lies in the labia (vaginal lips). There's one on each side. Their job is to lubricate the outer vagina, but sometimes they get blocked and swell up. An infection may follow, which needs to be seen right away before it turns into an abscess.

Vaginitis

Itching, and burning symptoms might indicate that you have a form of vaginitis. In short, it's the disruption of bacteria in the vagina. Every vagina has good bacteria, but when this balance is upset, the bad stuff gets out of hand. The four most common are:

  • Bacterial Vaginosis - a greyish white discharge that can lead to pelvic inflammatory disorder.
  • Yeast infections such as thrush, which causes itching, burning, and a white discharge.
  • Atrophic vaginitis - no infection is involved but symptoms include itching and burning. It sometimes occurs when there's a dip in oestrogen levels.
  • Trichomoniasis - this is an STI with a frothy green-yellow discharge.

Genital Warts

Warts are a common STI. Genital warts are spread by skin-to-skin contact. They develop into tiny white or pink clusters than look like cauliflowers. Treatment consists of removing them via cryotherapy or laser therapy, or applying chemicals. Go to your local clinic for treatment. They've seen it all before.

If you have a vagina problem it can be very distressing. Some ladies are ashamed of their parts, but really there is no reason to be. Our vaginas are our friends, and sometimes they need a helping hand. Talk to your GP or head to a sexual health clinic for some advice.

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