Th­ese em­bar­rass­ing med­i­cal con­cerns might prompt a snig­ger, but they’re no laugh­ing mat­ter for those who suf­fer from them day to day. By Mark Brook

Sunday Mail - Body and Soul - - HEALTH -

What it is: Ever since Char­lotte suf­fered a “de­pressed vag­ina” in Sex And The City, the term has been part of pop cul­ture, but the un­pleas­ant re­al­ity of this con­di­tion is chronic pain and sen­si­tiv­ity in the vulva (the ex­ter­nal area of the fe­male gen­i­tals). About one in four women ex­pe­ri­ence vulva pain at some point, but South Aus­tralian gy­nae­col­o­gist and ob­ste­tri­cian Dr Fariba Behnia-Wil­li­son says the con­di­tion af­fects 1 in 50 of us. Why it hap­pens: Causes can range from a nerve in­jury and ir­ri­ta­tion from un­der­wear or creams to a side ef­fect from overuse of an­tibi­otics. Hor­monal changes brought on by menopause, the con­tra­cep­tive pill and breast­feed­ing can also be a fac­tor. How­ever, in many cases there’s no ob­vi­ous cause. How to treat it: Behnia-Wil­li­son ad­vises see­ing a gy­nae­col­o­gist or a GP for a check-up and re­view­ing pos­si­ble con­tribut­ing med­i­ca­tions. Stick to cot­ton un­der­wear and tam­pons, and laun­dry prod­ucts that have been der­ma­to­log­i­cally ap­proved, and avoid us­ing sham­poo and highly per­fumed prod­ucts on the area.

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