Vestibulitus – My Struggle

Vestibulitus

Here are all my posts about my journey:

Part One – Vestibulitus – My Struggle
Part Two – The Beginning
Part Three – First Diagnosis
Part Four – The Honeymoon
Part Five – After The Honeymoon
Part Six – First Appointment
Part Seven – The Ultrasound and Results
Part Eight – The Surgery
Part Nine – After The Surgery
Part Ten  –  Pelvic Floor Therapy

Have you ever heard of such a thing? Also known as “vulval” or “vulvar” vestibulitis. In fact, my auto-spell check thinks it’s not a word. Trust me, it’s a word. And a feeling.I was lucky enough to find a gyno who recognized the signs. Apparently a lot of vestibulitus cases go undetected because the doctor doesn’t know better, and treats the patient for a yeast infection.According to UNC’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vulvar vestibulitis “has been increasingly recognized as a cause of painful sexual intercourse… In more severe cases, the pain is present during normal daily activities [such as urination], as well as during sex. Careful examination reveals redness and unusual sensitivity of the tissue at the opening of the vagina… [I]nflammation starts (for any one of a long list of reasons…) which causes pain; the nerves involved in sensing the pain then release chemicals that promote inflammation, and this inflammation causes further pain. Thus, a ‘vicious cycle‘ gets started that can last for years.”This is so scary for me. Being a newlywed (this started at honeymoon and lasted 9 months) and not being able to be intimate with my new husband!!?

Continuing with UNC’s Obgyn – “Although this problem is not cause by any single factor, it can be aggravated by acid foods in the diet, by low estrogen hormone, and by any infections that happen to occur while it is there.”

Now, I should address these things. I have no idea the type of diet I am on. I think it best that I research acid foods and try to cut those from my diet. After reading a bit on low estrogen hormone levels, I do feel that I have a low estrogen hormone. My research did not yield results from a “reputable site” (ie: a .com and not a .edu or .net) so I am hesitant to share those details. Let’s just say that the symptoms from those sites were a check, check, check for me. Perhaps at my next doctors appointment, I will bring it up. Lastly, I don’t think I had an infection while I have VV, but it is possible. One OBGYN treated me for a yeast infection, but I don’t think I really had one.

UNC – “[I]t seems that many treatments bring about at least some relief in some women… When pelvic muscles have become abnormally tight as a result of the pain, we find pelvic muscle exercises helpful, sometimes assisted by pelvic floor biofeedback done by a physical therapist. Medical measure bring about a sufficient relief in about 8 of 10 women.”

I have finished all 12 weeks of my Pelvic Floor Therapy or PFT sessions. Essentially, I have a vaginal probe that is assigned to me (no sharing!), an anal probe that is covered by a latex glove, and 3 pelvic sensors to monitor my abdominal muscles.

According to Vanderbilt University’s Rehab Center, “[PFT] addresses any disorders involving the pelvic floor muscles… The ‘pelvic floor’ refers to a group of muscles at the lower end of the trunk that support your internal organs… These muscles help support the bladder and rectum, help control the urine and stool, and maintain sexual function.”

So now you know what the “pelvic floor” is, in case you didn’t already. I didn’t know before I researched!

Vanderbilt – “Therapeutic exercise – Kegel exercises are used to strengthen and to relax the pelvic floor muscles. … Electrical stimulation – can be used in cases of severe muscle weakness to encourage a muscle contraction.”

My PFT includes both of these. My “exercise homework” for the week between sessions is to do kegel’s. Those are really hard to do without the machine to stimulate. I probably don’t do them as often as I should, but I get so frustrated with my body for not doing what my brain is trying to tell it to do. It’s exhausting, really! The electrical stimulation is the probes I spoke of earlier. At my sessions I am to relax and let the machine do the work for me. It forces me to constrict around the probe and relax. If the therapy doesn’t work, there is surgery called “vestibuloplasty”. I can’t tell you anything about that though, because I don’t know anything about it.

I am so lucky that the therapy worked for me!

 

DISCLAIMER: This is for informational purposes only. I am not a health professional (too much schooling!) I am simply sharing my story.

4 thoughts on “Vestibulitus – My Struggle

  1. OMG, you’re so brave for discussing this. Along the line of diet…have you researched leaky gut and/ or going gluten free? Gluten sensitivities and leaky gut syndrome cause inflammation in all sorts of crazy ways. For me its joint pain and hair falling out too rapidly. Mainstream medicine doesn’t usually address this and you are unlikely to have much cooperation from doctors. Changing your diet can be hard, especially when going out but if you get a positive result it is soooooo worth it.

    • I hope to update with the entire process, now that it’s over. Both my sisters are gluten free, but I’ve never heard to leaky gut. I’ll have to research that one. I’m working on changing my diet now and you’re right, it’s SO difficult.

  2. Pingback: TMI – After the Surgery | Royalty Sparkles

  3. Pingback: TMI – Pelvic Floor Therapy | Royalty Sparkles

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