The first time I remember feeling pain was when I was 17. Two things happened that year that indicated this condition (though I hesitate to call them its start — this is one of those disorders that could exist without one knowing for some time it if it’s not triggered by physical activity).
I was a Freshman at University. I lived in the dorms with a roommate and a shared bathroom between another suite. We didn’t have a kitchen, but the vanity housed a microwave and mini-fridge, which was enough for oatmeal and mac and cheese (the super healthy choices of Freshmen students). We had decided to bunk our beds so that the desks and armoires had a nicer layout and the floor space was more open. I chose top bunk because I found it cozy and romantic.
I was laying on my bed reading, and I remember my clit throbbing. It wasn’t throbbing like a thumb when hit with a hammer — no shooting pain or urgency. It just kind of hurt from deep inside. It was a pain that reminded me that it was there, but not much else.
I was young and still a total virgin at that point. I didn’t even start using tampons until I was 20. Sex was still taboo to me, and I tended toward avoidance of any problem, so I chose to ignore it. This is a pain I still feel today on occasion, with no prompt or true explaining side from the disorder itself.
That same year my vulva felt really irritated. I knew enough at that point to know what a yeast infection was, and after a few days I figured I ought to go to the doctor. I didn’t know how critical cotton underwear was, then, though I’m not sure that was the cause or the issue. It is incredibly common for women with vulvodynia to first present with yeast infection symptoms, and it is way more likely that, in this case, nothing was wrong except my nervous system.
I went to the campus OBGyn and received a cream which I used. I suppose it helped because I don’t remember going again for many years. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was 21 when I finally obtained my regular OBGyn. Unfortunately, she led me down the typical misdiagnosis path for years, though that’s a different story.
How many of you were misdiagnosed?