MG Asks: Is My Vagina Depressed or Just Moody?
I distinctly remember the moment when I first heard the phrase, “depressed vagina.” I was watching Sex and the City and oft-vagina-issue plagued Charlotte York was lamenting her depressed vagina. A depressed vagina? Is that a thing or a Victorian Era diagnosis? The questions filled my brain as I posited the realness of the claim as I imagined a cartoon vagina sunk in a despair of woe.
As it turns out, vaginas can indeed be depressed. While having a depressed vagina seems like a new medical condition, it was diagnosed and treated for centuries as an element of hysteria. In fact, the vagina can have many moods. They can be happy, sad, lusty, or, even euphoric. Our hormones at different times of our cycle can influence some of these moods.
What is a Depressed Vagina?
In medical terms, vaginal depression is diagnosed as vulvodynia and it affects about 16% of the female population. It is a “Chronic pain or discomfort around the opening of your vagina (vulva) for which there is no identifiable cause and can last up to three months.” There can be pain, burning, and irritation. It can make sitting very uncomfortable and sex an unthinkable act of torture. Doctors have yet to find the cause of the problem, though they do notice some common threads in patients.
What are the Symptoms and Treatment?
Vulvodynia can be characterized by symptoms such as burning, itching, soreness, rawness, throbbing, and itching in the genital area. Painful intercourse is also a symptom. The pain can range from constant to occasional, as well as generalized or just in specific areas like your vaginal opening. Most times, your vulva will appear normal but some women may notice slight inflammation or swelling.
Vulvodynia is often treated with anti-depressants which may or may not be helpful according to some studies that infer they are as effective as placebo in treating this issue. Pelvic floor muscle therapy can also be recommended as pelvic floor dysfunction is common for women with vulvodynia. Other treatments include everything from cognitive behavior therapy to Botox injections to acupuncture with varying levels of anecdotal success.
Five Tips for a Happy Vagina
While we never want to put pressure on our vaginas to “be” something, a happy vagina makes life more blissful and harmonious. Here are a few ways to help your vagina feel as happy as possible.
- Take a probiotic. It keeps good bacteria flourishing and a stable pH level.
- Do your Kegels! Not only are they fun to do, but they also tone your vagina for more explosive sex, easier natural childbirth, and prevent accidental leaks as you age.
- Stretch your inner thighs. Tight inner thigh muscles can lead to pain and tension in the vagina.
- Give yourself a vaginal massage. Using a small amount of coconut oil, massage your vulva and labia. This keeps the area supple and soft, and just a massage for a massage’s sake is a nice way to relax.
- Have regular sex! It one of the best ways to prevent vulvodynia.
Always be aware of your vagina’s mood and consult your gynecologist if you have questions or concerns. Other than that, treat your vagina right and she will do the same.