Can Vulvodynia Cause Bladder Problems?

“Vulvodynia is chronic debilitating burning vulvar pain or pain on contact. Although sufferers are more likely to experience co-morbid interstitial cystitis & urinary tract infections, few studies have explored whether women with vulvodynia experience adverse urinary symptoms (lower urinary tract symptoms in the absence of urological pain)” [1]

What the Reseach Says

A recent study on the aforementioned issues, shows that those who suffer from vulvodynia are: “substantially more likely to report voiding dysfunction and symptoms of urgency compared to women who do not have a history of vulvar pain. These findings are independent of comorbid interstitial cystitis or history of urinary tract infections (UTIs)” [1].

Putting a Spotlight on Vulvodynia Urinary Symptoms

Some vulvodynia sufferers may experience recurring bladder infections along with various symptoms. The latter include: feeling an urgent need to urinate; passing urine more often than normal; and feeling a burning sensation whilst urinating. Despite these symptoms, women with vulvar vestibulitis or vulvodynia can be given a lab test by their Vulva Pain Specialist, yet the results will not indicate that they have an infection-generating bacteria in their urine. Moreover, they are liable to develop dysfunction of the pelvic floor and other pain issues, including fibromyalgia, endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and pelvic interstitial cystitis [2].

Pelvic Interstitial Cystitis

“Interstitial cystitis is a poorly understood symptom complex that may include pain with bladder filling, pelvic pain, urinary urgency, urinary frequency & urination” [2]

The pain which is generated by pelvic interstitial cystitis, runs on a spectrum from severe pain to mild discomfort. This disorder is a part of an array of diseases which are referred to as painful bladder syndrome [2].


[1]. Sun Y, Harlow BL. The association of vulvar pain and urological urgency and frequency: findings from a community-based case-control study. Int Urogynecol J. 2019 Nov;30(11):1871-1878.

[2]. National Vulvodynia Association (2018). “Article on Inflammatory Mechanisms in Vulvodynia.”