Vulvodynia: a general term for pain in the vulvar area. It may be felt in one specific area or be more widespread. It may only be felt on touch, may be present constantly, or may vary from day to day.
Provoked Vestibulodynia Syndrome (PVD): is the most most common form of vulvodynia, affecting 1 in 6 women. It is the most common cause of painful sex (dyspareunia) in pre-menopausal women.
Women frequently describe it as a burning sensation at the entrance (vestibule) to the vagina, often felt specifically in a U-shaped area at the base of the vaginal opening – nearer the anus. Pain may be felt on pressure from a finger, tampon, or during penetration. The pain may last for many hours following intercourse and may cause a burning sensation when the bladder is emptied. The body’s response to pain is to tighten the muscles in the affected area, to try to protect from further damage (pain). This is a useful response in the short term, but if the muscles keep on contracting, they will create further problems, see ‘tight pelvic floor muscles‘.