Vulvar vestibulitis is a condition in which a woman experiences pain at the entrance to the vagina, also known as the vestibule. Pain only occurs after touch or pressure and is often experienced as a burning sensation, according to WebMD.
While the condition affects at least 200,000 women in the United States, it was not until the 1980s that it was even recognized by medical science, states WebMD. Up until that time, the pain was considered psychosomatic and patients were often referred to a mental health professional.
Vulvar vestibulitis can occur in women of all ages regardless of whether they are sexually active. Treatment options may include steroid creams, surgery, laser treatments and interferon injections, explains the University of Iowa Health Care system. There is no known cause for the condition, but it has been associated with several factors, such as chronic yeast infections; HPV, or human papillomavirus; chronic pH changes; and chronic bacterial infections.
Although further research is necessary, a study published in 2000 found that vulvar vestibulitis may be linked to a genetic condition, notes WebMD. More than half of the women who participated in the study have the same genetic abnormality, which makes them less able to stop the inflammation.