Overcoming Vulvodynia with CBD: Our Founder's Story

Time to read 4 min

It is possible to Beat Vulvodynia and Painful Sex with CBD

I think it's crucial to have open conversations around sexual health, especially when it comes to pain. To anyone who has struggled with painful sex — whether from Endo, PMS, or Vulvodynia — you know that shame and fear accompany it. I personally struggled with this for a long time.

When I was 18 years old, I had sex with my boyfriend, and I bled... a lot. As he drove me to the emergency room, I continued to bleed through the two pillows I was sitting on. When we arrived, the doctor stopped the bleeding and told me to see a gynecologist as soon as possible.

When I saw my gynecologist, they told me that everything was normal: "You're an odd case — probably because you're new to sex. Your body just needs to get used to it." Despite being reassured that nothing was wrong, I felt traumatized by my experience. From then on, sex was painful, always. I would feel a pain like sharp needles whenever I tried to have penetrative intercourse. The massive amounts of blood weren't there to alert others that something was wrong, but the pain was always there to alert me.

I went to so many different doctors who all told me the same thing: my vagina was totally normal, and there was nothing wrong. As an 18-year-old, I was neither able to argue with the medical professionals nor emotionally cope with the answers they gave me. I felt completely isolated in my pain. I convinced myself I was broken and unable to be repaired. I was ashamed.

"The reality is that many people experience pain during sex, but we just aren't talking about it."

This ongoing pain didn't just affect partnered sex; it had such a profound negative impact on the way I saw myself as a woman. It changed the way I viewed my body and the way I showed up for myself in intimate moments. Unable to solve the problem that doctors insisted wasn't a problem at all, I persevered through awful, painful sex. I was silent.

This was 20 years ago. Now, I have an empowered and very pleasurable sex life and rarely have any vulvodynia flair-ups — thanks to Mello Bottoms. I created these to provide relief and pleasure. Mello Bottoms can increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, and soothe discomfort, resulting in better orgasms and less pain.

But also, I want Mello to start conversations about sexual health. I want to destroy the shame or stigma we carry about what is a 'normal' experience of sex. What do we even define as sex? Must it include penetration? These are important questions. I want to empower people to confidently talk to their partners about their pleasure and pain.

The reality is that many people experience pain during sex, but we just aren't talking about it. With Mello, I hope to lead that conversation. I wish I had Mello Bottoms when I was 18, scared, and hurting. I can't lift that pain out of my past, but maybe I can lift that pain for others. 

Vulvodynia FAQs: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

What is vulvodynia, and what causes it?

Vulvodynia is a condition that causes chronic pain and discomfort in the vulva area, which can make sexual activity and daily life activities challenging. The exact cause of vulvodynia is unknown, but it can be due to several factors, such as nerve damage, hormonal changes, anxiety or stress, past trauma, or past infections.

What are the symptoms of vulvodynia?

The symptoms of vulvodynia can vary from person to person, but they usually include pain, burning, or stinging sensations in the vulva area. It can also cause discomfort during intercourse, tampon use, or even while sitting or exercising.

How is vulvodynia diagnosed?

There is no specific test for diagnosing vulvodynia, and it can be challenging to diagnose. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, conduct a pelvic exam, and may run some tests to rule out other conditions.

How can vulvodynia affect my sex life and relationships?

Vulvodynia can affect your sex life and relationships by causing pain and discomfort during sexual activity. It can also lead to anxiety, depression, and a decreased desire for sexual activity.

What are the treatment options for vulvodynia?

There is no cure for vulvodynia, and most doctors will prescribe pain or anti-anxiety meds, physical therapy, and/or surgery. Self-care practices, such as warm baths and avoiding tight clothing, can also help reduce discomfort. 

However, CBD is proving to be a viable solution to vulvodynia. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease investigated the use of topical CBD oil for vulvar pain in women with vulvodynia. The study included 23 women who applied a 250mg CBD oil to the vulvar area twice daily for eight weeks. The study found that the use of CBD oil was associated with a significant reduction in pain, as well as improvements in sexual function and overall quality of life. The researchers concluded that topical CBD oil may be a safe and effective treatment option for vulvodynia, although further research is needed to confirm these findings.

Is Vulvodynia common?

Vulvodynia is not rare, but it is often underdiagnosed. Estimates suggest that a significant number of women experience symptoms of vulvodynia at some point in their lives. Increased awareness and understanding can lead to better diagnosis and management.