Articles, Health & Wellness

CBD for Vulvodynia: What the Research Says and, Is It Effective?

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16.

That is the percentage of women in the U.S. who suffer from vulvodynia at some point in their lives.

It is a sexual health condition that is mostly ignored and neglected because there is a level of embarrassment. It usually leads people affected by this health issue to avoid doctors and dismiss it. And if they seek medical attention, some doctors do misdiagnose or are unaware of this condition.

Therefore this has led to patients doing their research and seeking various treatment options for vulvodynia. Fortunately, their research and curiosity have yielded results and, there is an excitement that you can use CBD for vulvodynia.

Yes, CBD the well-known cannabinoid that’s found in cannabis and has shown promise in alleviating different health conditions like fibromyalgia.

Hence in this post, we will walk through what vulvodynia is. What is the available research on utilizing CBD and vulvodynia? And why start using CBD for vulvodynia?

What Is Vulvodynia?

It affects women and is a chronic pain condition affecting the vulvar area and lasts for more than three (3) months. It is characterized by burning sensation (pain), itching, and irritation. There is limited knowledge on vulvodynia, so doctors do not know its exact cause.

But it occurs in 8–10% of women of all ages, and most of these women suffer in silence. It’s because there’s shame and fear in talking and seeking help for such an issue. This health condition can drastically affect your relationship, career, and sex life.

It is because you can experience vulvodynia pain when having sexual intercourse, by wearing tight-fitting pants, after sitting for a prolonged period like on a bicycle or office chair, and even when putting in a tampon.

There are two types of vulvodynia which include:

– Localized Vulvodynia

It is characterized by experiencing pain in one part of the vulva. Therefore, this pain can occur around the vaginal opening (vaginal vestibule) and even the clitoris. When it’s at the vaginal opening, it is referred to as vestibulodynia. And if the pain is at the clitoris, it’s referred to as clitorodynia.

The pain can happen if there is either touch or pressure, such as during sex or undergoing pelvic exams.

– Generalized Vulvodynia

You will experience the pain suddenly at different areas of the vulva at separate times. Also, the pain can occur without provocation, but symptom relief will happen too.

Vulvodynia pain causes discomfort in women and has even been; associated with anxiety, depression, and sleep problems. Hence this condition can also have a toll on your mental health.

The Research on Using CBD for Vulvodynia

There is limited research on using CBD to help with vulvodynia but what’s available is promising. But first, using CBD for vulvodynia isn’t meant to cure it but to alleviate its symptoms.

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There is no cure for vulvodynia since doctors do not know what causes it and, it’s under-researched. A 2014 study focusing on vulvodynia diagnosis showed that only 50 percent of patients ever receive an accurate diagnosis.

As for the drugs prescribed, the conventional medication utilized for this condition helps with relieving the symptoms. But the side effects of most prescribed medication make patients seek alternatives like CBD.

A 2020 study investigated cannabis’s potential to remedy the rare chronic pain disorder vulvodynia. Medical marijuana is most commonly used for chronic pain and, anecdotal reports suggest that marijuana can alleviate vulvodynia.

This study did reveal that participants stated that cannabis-induced relief for sharp/stabbing pain compared to itching and tampon insertion. They also reported that cannabis-induced remedy for dyspareunia (vaginal pain) compared to tampon insertion. Therefore cannabis might serve as a promising alternative treatment to add to the arsenal of potential interventions.

These results do suggest that cannabis might be better suited for some vulvodynia symptoms, specifically pain.

A 2020 research review explored cannabinoids and their use in chronic non-cancer pain. Since vulvodynia is a chronic pain disorder, cannabinoids like CBD might provide relief. Across the 29 trials involved in the review, cannabinoids were favored over placebo in alleviating pain. Within the first two (2) weeks, cannabinoids had a significant reduction in pain compared with placebo, and this difference remained at two (2) months.

Hence, there is evidence that the use of cannabinoids can help in mitigating chronic pain. Also, there is little evidence that cannabinoids increase the risk of experiencing; serious adverse effects.

Although there is little evidence on utilizing CBD for vulvodynia. It is still quality evidence that this cannabinoid can be crucial and help women suffering from vulvodynia.

Why Start Using CBD to Help in Alleviating Vulvodynia?

Pain is a vital factor in vulvodynia patients because it affects them during sexual intercourse or when just sitting. Therefore, having a product like CBD to relieve this pain is why there is genuine interest in utilizing it.

There are different conventional medications for vulvodynia treatment. They are anticonvulsants, opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and antidepressants.

The biggest drawback to most of these medications/drugs is their severe side effects. Yes, they might be effective in treating some of the symptoms of vulvodynia; but they will negatively affect your health and body. Some of these side effects are insomnia, dry mouth, constipation, fatigue, drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, headache, and sexual dysfunction.

A drug like an opioid that is used to relieve pain, is highly addictive. With the opioid epidemic, it’s a high-risk drug susceptible to abuse.

So with CBD, what you will get is a product that has mild side effects like reduced appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and dry mouth.

But besides CBD helping with vulvodynia pain and symptoms, one of the other reasons more patients are seeking it is due to it aiding your mental health.

Women affected by vulvodynia are usually stressed, anxious, and depressed. It is because this health condition has stigma and shame. After all, sexual health is uncomfortable to address.

If a woman has vulvodynia pain, it can affect her relationship with her partner and also make her productivity at the workplace/job become affected negatively.

Therefore, you will be depressed about losing your job/being unemployed, stressed about ruining your relationship, and anxious about your overall health.

Vulvodynia does not only affect one part of your body. It can also have an impact on your life and overall health and wellbeing. Hence by using CBD, you are not only alleviating vulvodynia symptoms. But also taking care of your mental health.

CBD may help you become relaxed or keep calm, alleviating stress levels plus potentially helping manage depression and anxiety.

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Although you are using CBD to help with managing vulvodynia, it’s important to incorporate other tips and ways that will help ease the symptoms. They include:

-Wear loose-fitting clothes since tight-fitting clothing intensifies vulvodynia symptoms. It also includes your undergarments and, cotton underwear is recommended, and do not wear them when sleeping.

-When it comes to doing your laundry, especially underwear, utilize only dermatologist-approved detergents. Also, avoid fabric softeners because you don’t want your clothing to have irritants and chemicals that may affect your vaginal area.

-Utilize ice packs or cold compresses on the external vaginal area to relieve symptoms like pain and itching.

-Use a water-soluble lubricant before sexual intercourse; hence you don’t have to avoid sex. But it’s crucial to communicate with your partner about vulvodynia.

-Avoid activities like bike riding and horse riding which aggravate vulvodynia. However, exercising and doing yoga are praised for making a difference.

-Make dietary changes by avoiding foods or diets with beans, soy products, berries, and chocolate. It is because they will make your urine irritating to the skin.

-Use 100% cotton tampons and pads and avoid scented and perfumed toilet paper, soaps, and perfumes.

Conclusion

Yes, CBD can be effective in relieving some of the vulvodynia symptoms. But a lot of research is still needed for conclusive proof.

By utilizing CBD for vulvodynia, it may help with; easing the symptoms but, it is in no way a product used to cure vulvodynia. Yes, the research available shows potential for CBD in terms of vulvodynia. But since this condition is under-researched and doctors don’t know what causes it. There is; plenty of unknowns like whether CBD can be used for the long term and is effective.

Most women affected by this condition never seek medical attention because they feel shame. But that usually does more harm than good.

Therefore always seek a doctor/specialist familiar with this condition. Also, talk about the symptoms you are experiencing, such as burning sensation, itching, and discomfort when sitting for a prolonged period. It will help since not all doctors are knowledgeable on vulvodynia and, you will avoid being; misdiagnosed.

But if you are using other prescribed medication for vulvodynia and you want to try some CBD products. Always consult with your doctor because there is a possibility of drug interactions which makes medication less effective.

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Disclaimer: fabuleaf’s products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended for diagnosing, treating, curing or preventing any disease. Any information discussed in this blog is not a replacement for professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor or physician for medical advice.