This is a condition that usually affects women who have never had any problems until they get an episode of something such as thrush, eczema or have an operation. When this episode has cleared they are left with hypersensitivity of the inner part of the vulva, which is called the vestibule, so that sexual intercourse, inserting tampons and touch of the area causes discomfort. There is no evidence that this is due to infection so you can’t give anything to your partner. The condition usually improves but may take months or even a few years.
Treatments consist of the following steps which usually help:
- Avoid tight clothing and nylon or Lycra pants or shorts.
- Avoid using soap, bubble bath or shampoo in the bath or deodorants in this area.
- Use Epaderm as a soap substitute and moisturiser.
- You may be given an antihistamine tablet to stop the irritation.
- Amitriptyline, which is an antidepressant tablet useful for neuralgia, where the nerve endings become oversensitive. It is used in small doses to start with in order to reduce the side effects of sleepiness, and the dose gradually increased.