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Linda (37) dealt with vulvar vestibulitis for years

1 min read
Cycle Care

A penis that just won’t fit and a ‘down under’ which always burns. Linda struggled with it for years: vulvar vestibulitis also known as provoked vulvodynia.

Cycle spoke with Linda (37) - who deals with vulvar vestibulitis. Now, she has made it her life's work to help people with similar problems. We asked Linda for tips that helped her to get rid of her complaints.

Linda: “Fortunately, I have gone from always dealing with pain to a situation where I barely feel any pain, which is amazing. It took a very long time to get here; it took such a long time before I even knew what I had.”

‘It burned like crazy’

“When I had sex for the first time - I was about 16 years old - I noticed that it caused me a lot of pain. It burned like crazy down there, but it didn’t worry me too much. It was my first boyfriend, so I honestly didn’t know better! But with my second boyfriend it didn’t work either. His penis couldn’t enter and it hurt a lot. I realized then that something was going on with my vagina. And it went from bad to so much worse.”

‘so much pain, there was nothing that gave relief’

“From the age of 19 I had chronic pain; from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep. I was in so much pain, it was horrible. Walking hurt, sitting hurt, cycling hurt, lying down hurt, it was just a constant burning feeling and there was nothing that gave relief. Thankfully, through an amazing gynecologist I got the guidance and support that I needed and I became more involved in physical awareness. Slowly the pain started to disappear. Currently I barely have any pain at all and that is so freeing. I’ve had treatment with a gynecologist, a pelvic physiotherapist, and with an osteopath. I’ve also used a TENS-unit to make the sensitive areas in my vagina less sensitive. I can count my blessings with my gynecologist who took my symptoms seriously, because that is so incredibly important. Unfortunately, I often hear that those vaginistic complaints are not treated well and that many women continue to suffer from them. That is such a pity.”

Linda has a couple of tips which really helped her. Cycle lists them for you and who knows, maybe they will help you too.

  • You can get the feeling that your body doesn’t work the way you want it to, which can cause you to develop resentment for your body. The advice is to not get stuck in this line of thinking, but to continue to look at yourself with mild eyes. You can create these mild eyes by closing them and thinking of something nice before focusing on your own body (and vulva). You turn inward, as it were, and speak to yourself encouragingly and you comfort yourself. This technique is based on Taoism and worked well for Linda. When you are feeling especially low, this is a nice method to be there for yourself, as crazy as that may sound. It can help to place one hand on your heart and the other on your vulva to connect more with your own body during the day.

  • You can take sitz baths. You can order a bidet for your toilet for that purpose (a bowl that you put on your toilet and can order from Amazon.com for example). You fill this with lukewarm water, possibly mixed with drawn tea made from herbs such as chamomile, plantain, and marshmallow root (get good advice on this from an expert with extensive knowledge about how herbs work and do not use any herbs when you are sensitive for infections or have damaged skin down there). Linda’s advice is to take a sitz bath for no longer than 30 minutes. The warmth of the water relaxes and, especially the plantain, supports the recovery of the fragile skin down under.

  • Try to treat your own body. This doesn’t have to be something erotic or sensual per se, but that is certainly allowed. Start with a nice warm bath or other pampering for your body. Put a little oil on your hand and place it on your vulva or massage your own body. It’s important that you get used to touch without getting startled. And it is best to practice this yourself before doing it with a partner. The touch doesn’t serve any other purpose, it is truly about the experience.

  • Lastly, Linda has one very practical tip. If you can manage to insert a tampon, it is easier if you do a pushing motion first. Your vagina will contract first which makes the insertion of the tampon a lot easier. If it hurts, please stop and don’t continue trying! Pads or period underwear are an amazing alternative to tampons.


Do you want to know the difference between vaginismus, vulvodynia, and vulvar vestibulitis? Read this article in which it is explained.

Linda has set up her own practice to be able to guide people with likewise complaints. You can find her via www.schattenvanlinda.nl.


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