Hiya, I’m Lucianna, I’m 21 and have struggled with Vulvodynia for as long as I can remember, I properly realised there was something wrong at the start of puberty roughly 12/13. Now I know that might sound scary, the fact that I’ve had it for 8/9 years but the main reason for that is because I was aware of it from such a young age I just thought there was something wrong with me. I thought I was the only as I’d never heard of this kind of pain before and I was too scared to be checked as I was too embarrassed, worried and nervous.
However, I am currently in the process of sorting it and I’m here to share my story, to help put people at ease and know you’re not the only one, it does get better, it can happen to people at any age, can last for various different lengths of time and there are many ways to try and resolve the problem if you have it.
My first relationship was when I was 15 and we tried some things and that’s when my
Vulvodynia first became a problem with another person. We both wanted to get intimate however I struggled to do this and was pretty much completely unable to due to the pain caused which he didn’t understand and of course neither did I at the time. This problem then snowballed into my next few relationships.
My next boyfriend at 16 also didn’t understand the problem and I still didn’t have any idea as to what it was and by this time thought that maybe something was seriously wrong with me. However I believe that relationship did in turn make it worse, because due to my issues I was very reluctant to engage in foreplay as much as he wanted to and sex was a complete no go. But he wasn’t having it so was trying to mentally force me to do things by making me feel bad if I didn’t do what he wanted to do which was mentally abusive along with other things that I won’t go into. Anyway because of the pain, being forced into things that caused the pain and not feeling in control I spent a lot of that time in tears as I didn’t know what to do, which I’m sure didn’t help the soon to be discovered
My first serious relationship was going really well to start with he understood the fact I could have sex and I believed for a long time that it wasn’t an issue for him. Now although sex isn’t the only factor in a relationship, without it I personally think it loses intimacy and after about two years he got fed up with waiting, he broke up with me and used it against me saying I didn’t try hard enough to sort it out and fix the problem (of course there was other factors but I’ll stick to the point). Maybe he was right, I wasn’t trying hard enough to find a solution but that was because I was terrified to find out what was wrong and I didn’t know how or where to start, besides it wasn’t exactly like he was trying to help me with it.
Fast forward to the present, I fell in love with my best friend, he helped persuade me to go to my gp and see if there was anything wrong. It took a couple attempts they told me to try relaxing more through various means and tried to test through the dermatologists to see if there was any skin problems. Nonetheless my doctor was very good about it and figured out the problem rather quickly, diagnosing me with vulvadynia, at the age of 20 I finally had an explanation. He explained to me what it is and various methods of treatment I could go about to try to resolve it, he seemed very familiar with it and told me it was a common issue with girls/women of all ages.
I was at that point prescribed Amitriptyline, which in simple terms is a type of painkiller that tries to numb your nerve signals, and lidocaine which is almost like a numbing cream (form of local anaesthetic). The lidocaine didn’t work out for me as it caused spotting so I stopped using that, and to start with the amitriptyline tablets weren’t working either, I began on 10mg and went up to 30mg and I had no results. I started to get very disheartened thinking even though I found an explanation, nothing was working to solve it. After some research and speaking to a friend of mine who informed me that perhaps I was taking the amitriptyline tablets too late in the evening, I started taking them a little earlier about a couple hours before bed. In doing that I began to see results I spoke to my doctor and he told me to keep up with the medication. As of around November last year the amitriptyline has been working slightly for the last 3/4 months, for the first time I was able to use a tampon and for the first time I was able to insert a finger (both of these things are still very uncomfortable) these things may not sound like a lot but to someone with these issues and having had them for so long it is amazing progress. Now don’t get me wrong the medication is not an instant fix, it is still painful and sometimes is still a no go but it shows that there are ways to get through it, it may time but have patience it’s worth it.
So this is where I am currently at, and it’s now just a work in progress to slowly push past it through working on myself with my medication, practise and I’m also considering getting a dilator set to help too.