Conditions & Symptoms

Our mission is to provide women with resources and scientifically-backed information to increase awareness about women’s health issues. Women can experience a number of conditions that make it difficult to live healthy and prosperous lives. Below, you can select common conditions that may regularly impact your life, read more information and find additional resources for your research. Of course, if you’re currently experiencing any symptoms that concern you, we recommend consulting your physician or OBGYN right away.

>  Bacterial Vaginosis - BV
   Vaginal discomfort, burning & itching, abnormal discharge.

>  Menopause
    Irregular periods, vaginal dryness, night sweats.

>  Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)
    Burning or aching pain, throbbing pain after intercourse.

>  Pelvic Floor Disorder
    Constipation, pelvic muscle spasms, incontinence.

>  Oncology & Post-Care
   Vaginal dryness, irritation of skin, Dyspareunia.

>  Vaginismus
    Involuntary vaginal contractions, pain during penetration.

>  Vaginal Atrophy (atropic vaginitis)
   Vaginal dryness, burning or itching, vaginal discharge.

>  Lichen Schlerosus
    Small, itchy patches in genital area, burning, painful sex.

>  Sjogren’s Syndrome
    Dry mouth, recurring vaginal infections, vaginal dryness.

>  Vulvodynia
   Vaginal burning, soreness, itching, pain during intercourse.

Millions of women suffer from a number of conditions which create discomfort – not just during sex, but every day. Many endure the same resulting symptoms.

BV makes women 60% more susceptible to STDs and 3x more likely to infect their male partners.

Bacterial Vaginosis - BV

Bacterial Vaginosis – also known as BV – is by far the most common genital infection. It's considered to be a "silent" infection because the majority of women who contract BV don't even know they have it. Bacterial Vaginosis occurs when the normal, healthy balance of lactobacilli in the vagina is disrupted and replaced by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria.

What You Need to Know

  • 2 in 5 women have BV, and 84% of these cases go undiagnosed
  • Women with BV who go untreated are 60% more susceptible to HIV and other STIs than those without BV.
  • Women with BV are 3x more likely to infect their partners with HIV and STIs.
  • Women with BV may be at increased risk of pelvic inflammatory diseases. Pregnant women with untreated BV have an increased risk for complications such as early labor or miscarriage.
  • Heavily concentrated petrochemical products are hyperosmolar and can negatively impact vaginal health.
  • A normal, healthy vaginal pH is approximately 3.7. A toxic imbalance in the vagina can drive pH levels up to 6 or higher, creating ideal conditions for unhealthy bacteria to thrive.
  • To date, there is no long-term cure for BV; it is a recurring infection.
> Learn more about symptoms and treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis - BV

Menopause

Menopause is a natural biological process that indicates the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles. The condition occurs gradually, but is diagnosed after 12 consecutive months without a period. Most women will experience natural menopause between the ages of 40 and 58, but induced menopause may occur earlier as a result of medical intervention. There are three stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. 

  • Perimenopause, commonly referred to as menopausal transition, is the time leading up to a woman’s last menstrual cycle. This stage can last between 4 to 8 years and is characterized by the body’s slowed production of estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that regulate menstruation. During the last two years of this transitional stage, women begin to experience menopausal symptoms as their estrogen levels quickly drop. 
  • Menopause, indicates the last menstrual cycle. The ovaries have stopped releasing eggs, and the body stops producing estrogen. 
  • Postmenopause, is characterized by the lessening of menopausal symptoms.
> Learn more about symptoms and treatment of Menopause

Vaginismus

Vaginismus is the recurrent or persistent contraction of muscles around the vagina. It commonly is thought to be a psychological condition, brought about by fear of sex, anxiety, or a past sexual trauma. Vaginismus can also develop as a result of menopause. When the body’s estrogen levels decline, the lack of vaginal lubrication can result in the development of vaginismus in some women.

Most Common Symptoms:

  • Involuntary contraction of the vaginal muscles
  • Burning or stinging pain during penetration
  • Fear of penetration due to pain
> Learn more about symptoms and treatment of Vaginismus

Oncology & Cancer Post-Care Sexual Difficulty

A number of physical conditions may arise following cancer treatment that make sexual intercourse more difficult. Cancer treatments beyond surgery may include treatments such as hormonal therapy, radiation, and chemotherapy. Each of these affects the body in many ways. According to the American Cancer Society, women may experience sexual problems as a result of premature menopause, vaginal dryness, and pain during sex.

Conditions & Symptoms Include:

  • Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM)
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Dyspareunia
  • Irritation of the skin
> Learn more about symptoms and treatment of Oncology & Cancer Post-Care Sexual Difficulty

Pelvic Floor Disorders

Pelvic floor disorders (PFD) are a result of a traumatic injury or the weakening of the pelvic floor, which is comprised of muscles, ligaments, connective tissue, and nerves. According to the University of Chicago, pelvic floor disorders occur when the "sling" or "hammock" that supports the pelvic organs becomes weak or damaged. The three most common types of pelvic floor disorders (PFD) are urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse.

Most Common Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Disorders

  • Constipation
  • Muscle spasms in the pelvis
  • Leakage of stool/urine
  • Urgency with urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • Pain with intercourse
> Learn more about symptoms and treatment of Pelvic Floor Disorders

Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)

Dyspareunia - also known as painful intercourse - is recurrent or persistent pain from sexual activity, caused by biological or emotional factors. According to the American Family Physician, about 10% to 20% of U.S. women will experience dyspareunia at some point in their lifetime. 

Factors that can contribute to dyspareunia include:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • A side effect from drugs such as tamoxifen, raloxifene, antihistamines, anti hypertensives, and allergy medications
  • Lack of arousal or lubrication
  • Low estrogen, as a result of postpartum, lactation, or menopause
  • Atrophic vaginitis
  • Endometriosis
  • Vulvar vestibulitis 
  • Psychological trauma
  • Past history of sexual abuse or trauma
> Learn more about symptoms and treatment of Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)

Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia is characterized by chronic pain in the vulva. Symptoms range from mild to incapacitating pain and the descriptions vary by woman. Some indicate a feeling of burning, stinging, itching, or irritation. The symptoms may be exacerbated by sexual intercourse, walking, or sitting.

What You Need To Know

There are two subtypes of vulvodynia, localized and generalized. Localized vulvodynia refers to pain that is concentrated around the vaginal opening (vestibule), whereas generalized vulvodynia refers to pain around the entire vulvar area. The cause for vulvodynia remains unknown. Contributing factors may include injury or irritation to the nerves surrounding the vulvar region, past vaginal infections, allergies, hormonal changes, muscle spasms, or weakness in the pelvic floor.

Most Common Symptoms:

  • Burning
  • Soreness
  • Stinging
  • Rawness
  • Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Throbbing
  • Itching
> Learn more about symptoms and treatment of Vulvodynia

Sjögren’s Syndrome

Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease that affects the mucous membranes and moisture-secreting glands of the eyes and mouth. It can affect both men and women, but affects women 9 times more arises when the immune system starts attacking moisture producing cells. Characterized by dry eyes and a dry mouth, the appearance of Sjögren’s syndrome can also exacerbate vaginal atrophy in menopausal women.

The disease typically affects the salivary and tear glands. In some cases, other glands, including vaginal lining, may also become affected. That may result in pain during intercourse and recurring vaginal infections. According to the Johns Hopkins Sjogrens Center, the use of vaginal moisturizers, water-based lubricants, and vaginal estrogen creams are effective treatments in relieving vaginal dryness.

Most Common Symptoms:

  • Mouth dryness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dental decay
  • Cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Mouth soreness
  • Vaginal dryness
> Learn more about symptoms and treatment of Sjögren’s Syndrome

Lichen Sclerosus

Lichen Sclerosus is a rare skin condition that develops in the genital and anal areas. Anyone can develop Lichen Sclerosus, but postmenopausal women are affected at higher rates. While there are many theories surrounding the cause - genetics, hormone imbalance, prior skin injury - the cause for Lichen Sclerosus remains unknown. There is currently no cure for this condition, but the symptoms can be managed with effective treatment. Signs and symptoms typically develop in the genital and anal areas, but they may also affect the skin of the upper body, upper arms, and breasts.

Most Common Symptoms:

  • Small, shiny, smooth white patches
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Discomfort or pain
  • Blotchy, wrinkled patches
  • Tearing, bleeding, or blisters
  • Pain during intercourse
> Learn more about symptoms and treatment of Lichen Sclerosus

Vaginal Atrophy (Atropic Vaginitis)

Vaginal atrophy, or atrophic vaginitis, is characterized by the thinning and drying of the vaginal walls. It develops as a result of decreased estrogen levels, and affects approximately 50% of postmenopausal women. Many women will experience pain during sex, but additional urinary symptoms may develop.

Most Common Symptoms:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Vaginal burning and/or itching 
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Burning with urination
  • Urgency with urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Spotting or bleeding
> Learn more about symptoms and treatment of Vaginal Atrophy (Atropic Vaginitis)