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Vulvodynia: finding the way back to myself

A mysterious condition made life miserable for Rebecca Pearson. With acute, unexplained pain in her genitals, sex was out of the question and she felt like a failure as a woman. At last, she got a diagnosis, and shares her story to help the many other women suffering from the syndrome, and the emotions it brings

Around two years ago, I was diagnosed with vulvodynia, which is unprovoked chronic pain in the vulval region. It was deeply embarrassing and unsexy, and made me feel as if I was faulty: intimacy, using tampons, dating and even wearing skinny jeans became obstacles. The shame is lessening as I learn to talk about it, however, and also as I discover that a large number of women can relate to my story.

“ It was deeply embarrassing and unsexy, and made me feel faulty… even wearing skinny jeans was an obstacle “

The straw that broke…

A few weeks before the diagnosis, on a cold February afternoon, I sobbed, “I just can’t take it any more!” into the arms of my surprised father. Severe, recurrent thrush had assailed me for years and I had been bleeding for months from yet another contraceptive pill that didn’t agree with me. When the blood low occasionally ceased, I was unable to have sex because of an ever-present sensation of having paper cuts around my vagina, which was heightened by physical contact. Valentine’s Day would be ruined. My poor boyfriend’s patience would surely soon run out.

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