Nearly everyone knows the term “blue balls.” But have you ever heard about a “depressed vagina”? Believe or not, your va-jay-jay can get depressed… so depressed that it starts to waste away.
No, I am not just making this up. The technical term for this is called “vaginal atrophy,” and the result is vulvodynia, or chronic painful sex.
Here are some things you need to know about depressed vaginas:
Notoriously difficult to diagnose and underestimated in intensity, vulvodynia is an unexplained pain the emanates throughout the enter female reproductive organ. The main area of effect, however, would be the vulva, or the skin surrounding the entrance to the vagina.
The exact cause is unknown. There is a lack of funding, and so it is impossible to tell whether a depressed vagina stems from vaginal atrophy, infection, or an STI. Recent studies, though, are pointing to some of the following potential causes:
- injury and irritation to the nerves around the vulva and vagina;
- abnormal response of the vulval cells to infection and trauma;
- genetic abnormalities;
- autoimmune or chronic pain disorders;
- hypersensitivity to Candida (yeast) infections;
- spasms or weakness of the pelvic floor muscles.
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2. Signs to watch out for
Pain is obviously going to be the most notable feature of a depressed vagina. The skin will appear normal to the eye, but the pain will be different and often come with the following signs:
- stinging, burning, or soreness;
- pain caused by a touch, especially when inserting a tampon or during sex;
- constant aching pain;
- worse when sitting;
- limited to only one part of the vulva for some; others may experience a more widespread pain that radiates from inner thighs and buttocks as well;
- discomfort comes and goes.
If your vulvodynia comes paired with vaginal atrophy, then there are other symptoms such as dryness, itching, difficulty peeing, and discharge.
3. The impact of vulvodynia
The problem with a depressed vagina is that it doesn’t just “cheer up” on its own. Like regular depression, this kind of pain is endless, unless something is done to relieve it. For women who go without a proper diagnosis, vulvodynia could be the end of loving relationships and marriages.
It can make women feel isolated and broken. Therefore, more research should be done to determine the causes and how to properly treat this issue so women can live healthily.
4. Are treatments available?
The treatments for depressed vagina are often similar to those used for other chronic pain conditions. Low dose antidepressants are often used to help.
Doctors may also encourage you to start doing pelvic floor muscle therapy and exercises to help strengthen any dysfunctional muscles in the area. On top of that, you can attend cognitive-behavioral therapy to aid with any depression and anxiety that could be contributing to existing vulvodynia.
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Obviously, the depressed vagina quip from Sex and the City holds some precedence. It is not just a myth but a real condition that needs to be brought to the forefront of medical research.
Constant pain in the vulva and vag is not normal, so if you think you have a depressed vagina, be sure to schedule an appointment with a trusted gynecologist immediately.