Three years ago, I was just finishing my second year of university. It was a very exciting time for me. I was entering the fourth year of a relationship and looking forward to my future. However, nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.
I began to suffer with excruciating pain in the most private part of my body and after two years of endless appointments and treatments that failed, I was diagnosed with vulvodynia. I believe that when discussing vulvodynia, we should be raw, real, and honest. Vulvodynia slowly took over my life. I lost my passion for studying, I lost my day-to-day happiness and positive outlook on life, I lost the relationship with my partner, and most importantly, I felt like I was losing myself.
When you’re diagnosed with vulvodynia, they may explain the physical pain you will suffer, i.e., the burning, stinging, throbbing, and aching, but they often forget to mention the emotional pain you’ll go through. A condition like this can make you feel incredibly alone; I know I did. That was until I found the NVA website and realized just how many incredible women were out there. I began to feel less alone and confident enough to speak out. I surrounded myself with support and used my voice to get the help I needed.
There were days when I couldn’t imagine a pain-free life and days when I couldn’t even get out of bed. However, with the right help, emotionally and physically, I was able to fight this condition every single day. I found tips to relieve some of the pain so that I could get back to doing the things that brought me joy. I found a way to communicate with my partner and we were able to continue a healthy, happy, and intimate relationship. Most importantly, I found a knowledgeable doctor and the right treatment plan, which I can happily say, has completely changed my life.
I am no longer in constant pain, I can wear pants, I can do the activities I want to do, and I am myself again. Of course, as with any chronic pain condition, I have occasional flare-ups, but they are manageable and remind me to be grateful for the pain-free days.
After struggling with this debilitating condition for three years, I became more passionate about advocating for women’s health and taboo topics. I started my own blog, where I share my story, tips, advice, and both the good and bad days. I created a blog where you can go for a giggle, cry, a moment of relief or just a place to keep learning about conditions like these. Take a look at https://thedreadedvword.wixsite.com/website if you think it would benefit you.
If I could give my 19-year-old self advice, it would be to seek help straight-away. Yes, it may be embarrassing to admit, but being in intense pain for years is absolutely worth an uncomfortable 10-minute chat. For those who are still suffering badly, keep going. There is an end in sight, but you need perseverance to reach it. Be your own advocate. And for the women, like me, who have come through the worst of it and can breathe a sigh of relief, embrace your new lease on life, do everything you hoped to do and never forget how strong you are. Nobody deserves to live in pain.