I am 25 and I was just diagnosed with VVS (in particular, my vestibule glands are swollen and it is red around my vestibule. It hurts ALOT when the area is touched and generally burns throughout the day). I just started Elavil, Kegel exercises, low oxalate diet, calcium citrate, and Allegra. My pain began in the end of May (3 months ago).
During this time I have been training for a marathon. Most of the time, the running really helps to control the emotional distress associated with VVS, and sometimes, it takes my mind off the pain completely. However, sometimes, it can actually exacerbate the burning, especially if the burning is bad before I start running. In addition, my long runs (once a week) are between 14-20 miles, which can take between 2-4 hrs. I sweat heavily during this time.
My question is whether I should stop training for the marathon, and just do shorter (less than 1 hour runs). Completing the marathon is a great goal that has helped me get through a lot of the anxiety of VVS, but at the same time, I would really like my life back and my vagina to stop burning. Suggestions? Ideas? Dr. Goldstein- did you have any patients that ran a marathon with VVS?
Also, I am having a lot trouble knowing if I am doing the Kegel exercises right. I feel like I am working my stomach more than anything else. Does anyone have any suggestions?
It is very possible that you do not have VVS but have pelvic floor dysfunction causing pain at the vestibule. Long distance running can make PFD worse. You need a thorough evaluation of your pelvic floor muscles by a vulvar specialist of women's health physical therapist. For a further explanation of pelvic floor dysfunction see Amy Stein's article on ourgyn.com
Andrew T. Goldstein, MD
Director, The Center For Vulvovaginal Disorders
When you are going to the bathroom try to stop the flow of urine. If you can do that, you have the correct muscle for kegel. You can also stick your finger in yourself and squeeze it, if you can do that you have the correct muscle. Of course, you might not want to do that because of pain or irritation. Best of luck =)
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