Christin Veasley (here with daughter Grace), endured years of genital pain.(CHRISTIN VEASLEY)Christin Veasley got lucky and found treatment for her vulvodyniapain in her vulva that she likens to "shards of glass" or "acid being poured into an open cut." Most sufferers don't find anything close to a cure.
Veasley's problem started after a vaginal infection when she was 18, her freshman year in college. The infectioncervicitiswas treated, but the pain wouldn't go away. Months later, a new doctor told her she had a rampant bacterial infection. During that time, she had gone from having a burning pain on penetration to having pain all the time.
Finally, Veasley couldn't take it anymore: "I was in the middle of a physics exam and I couldn't sit still, and I left my exam half-complete and drove straight to my doctor's office."
After a nurse practitioner told her there was no treatment for vulvodynia, Veasley did her own research, found herself a specialist, and began a long path to recovery. With treatment for her infection and a combination of a tricyclic antidepressant, estrogen cream, and biofeedback, the pain went away over the next few yearsat least when she wasn't having sex. She was able to go off the medicine but says she was left with "very severe insertional pain."
More on sexual pain
- When Sex Hurts, It Could Be Vulvodynia
- How to Treat Vulvodynia
- 5 More Reasons for Women's Sexual Pain
Then in 2000, Veasley had surgery to remove tissue from her vestibule (the entrance to the vagina) and was able to have intercourse with her husband, a college sweetheart, for the very first time. (They had been sexually active without having penetration.) She had her first of two children in 2001.
Veasley, now 32 and the associate executive director of the National Vulvodynia Association, these days reports just a slight sensitivity right before her period.