It all started 5 years ago when I began with awful symptoms of an unexplained chronic pain/burn inside my vagina. At first I thought it was a yeast infection, but after several studies that indicated there was no bacteria or anything that suggested a normal infection, I began to worry deeply. At one point, a very well-known gynaecologist in Mexico City (my hometown), told me that it was all in my head and that there was nothing wrong with me. “Ok, so now I’m going crazy?”, I said.
Looking for answers and self diagnosis
After two years of searching for doctors and specialists in Mexico, after spending all this energy, time and money, I gave up completely. Pretty much hating everything and everyone in my life. I swear to god that if one more person told me if I’ve tried alternative medicine or essential oils, I was going to hunt them down. It’s really a no brainer, of course I’ve tried EVERYTHING!
One day I was watching an episode of Sex and The City where I heard for the first time the term Vulvodynia. In that episode Charlotte was diagnosed with it, and she mentioned about it at brunch with the girls. I remember all four of them laughing, not taking the matter seriously, and, the worst part was when Carrie asked Charlotte if it hurts, and she said no. I have nothing against the show, in fact I’m a huge fan, but I was extremely disappointed how they addressed a serious medical condition. Not only does it hurts like hell, sometimes you can’t even sit down because anything that puts pressure on the vulvar area aggravates the pain.
When I googled about Vulvodynia I started extensively researching the subject, it was like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
So, what exactly is Vulvodynia?
To put it in simple words it's vulvar chronic pain with no known cause. It is persistent, unexplained pain in the vulva (the skin surrounding the entrance to the vagina). It can affect women of all ages and can occur in women who are otherwise healthy. Vulvodynia can be a long-term (chronic) problem that’s very distressing to live with, but much can be done to help relieve the pain.
Everything suddenly made sense, and it was such a relief to know that I wasn’t crazy and that there are in fact doctors who know about it, specialists that are investigating and researching on how to find better and new treatments. However, these special people were not in Mexico at the time, they were in the US.
My diagnosis and living with the condition
Luckily I was able to go to Florida and meet with incredible physicians. A gynaecologist specialised in vulvology and a team of pain management specialists as well. I started my treatment immediately with hope and positive vibes, even though from the beginning they told me that there are no guarantees. Not every treatment works the same, every woman is different, every body functions different. It might not work at all for some women. In my case some worked and some didn’t. It’s been five years and I’m still struggling with the pain, sometimes it gets better and some days I can’t even get out of bed.
The value of information
What keeps me going is the fact that I have more information now, and the fact that there are many women suffering from this as well. I’m not alone. I’m still seeing the doctors in Miami and I found a gynaecologist in Monterrey, Mexico. I also work with an acupuncturist, and I tried physiotherapy. There are certain tricks and home made hacks that help me at rough times, like coconut oil as personal lubricant. Hot or cold patches help to soothe the area and keep your mind off the pain. Essential oils work sometimes, magnesium for muscle spasms is great and eating an irritant free diet is very helpful. Breaking up with sugar is something to really think about.
Sex can be challenging, I’m not going to lie, but it’s not impossible. At the end of the day, one only needs a loving, caring and patient partner. Communication is key. If there is one thing that I’ve learned it is to listen to my body and we all know that there are other ways to give and receive pleasure.
What I’ve come to realise from this challenging journey is that the more I try to hide it or resist it, the more I try to pretend that I’m ok, the worse it gets. So, that’s why I’m breaking the silence, I’m making peace with the pain. I know the pain is there, I acknowledge it, and I’m letting it go.
I can proudly say that I’m the first advocate for Vulvodynia in Mexico. I started an Instagram account to raise awareness, let people know that this is real, it’s a real condition and a lot of girls and women are battling with it. I invite you to follow my story through @peacewithpain, a safe platform that aims to support other women, even if they only need to speak up and be heard.
Important things to know about Vulvodynia
Rare Revolution Editor