Living With Vulvar Pain: Coping Strategies and Support Resources

“Chronic pain changes your life, sometimes making it difficult to work, sleep, socialise & perform other daily activities. It can also strain relationships with family & friends, or make you feel depressed & anxious. The good news is that there are medications & other treatments & therapies that your Vulva Consultant can offer you, to provide pain relief” [1]

Did You Know?

Learning how to moderate your long-term pain is just as vital for your emotional well-being, as it is for your physical health.

To that end, Vulva Pain Doctors recommend trying out the following coping strategies, all of which can be practised in tandem with following a Holistic Personalised Treatment Plan. The latter will be devised for you after your initial consultation (including a medical history review, and any necessary examinations, tests and scans), with your Vulva Specialist.

Strategy 1: Acknowledge How You Feel, & Take Back Control of Your Life

There are countless people who have to deal with long-term pain, yet from this huge number of sufferers, a percentage are able to lead fulfilling, happy lives. So what makes the difference?
The simple answer to this is: “choose to focus on your strengths, and enjoy the activities that you can do. Develop a positive attitude and substitute negative thoughts for positive ones. Negative thoughts cause anxiety, which intensifies pain. Maintaining a positive attitude takes the focus off your pain, and helps to keep anxiety in check, thus helping you feel better emotionally and physically [1].

Strategy 2: Switch to a Super Healthy Lifestyle By Following These Tips

Healthy sleep (with 7 to 8 hours of restorative slumber); a balanced nutritious diet, and daily exercise and de-stressing, are key to optimum health and well-being:

• Eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies
• Have a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat (ensuring that you have an abundance of unprocessed and wholegrain options; as well as healthy fat such as olive oil; and good protein such as chicken and fish). (All subject to any contraindications)
• Consume 5 or 6 glasses of mineral water every day
• Exercise every day, even if it is just a short walk in your lunch hour, or after work. And ask your Vulva Doctor if you are a suitable candidate for going to the gym, or joining an exercise class. Of note: “research shows that aerobic exercise boosts the body’s natural painkillers and enhances mood” [1]
• With regard to de-stressing and relaxation, try joining a yoga or Tai Chi class (subject to any contraindications); or do some meditation and breathing work with guidance from a reputable YouTube channel [1]

Support Resources

The National Vulvodynia Association

The Vulva Pain Society


[1]. National Vulvodynia Association (2023). “Coping With Chronic Pain.”