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Vulvodynia

Definition

Vulvodynia is chronic pain or discomfort of the vulva. The vulva includes the:
Female Genitalia
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Causes

The cause of vulvodynia is not known. Some possibilities include:

Risk Factors

Vulvodynia is more common in women who are younger. Other factors that may increase the chance of vulvodynia include:

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. It may include a pelvic exam. The affected area may need to be examined closely. This can be done using a colposcope to magnify the area.
Testing may include:

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:

Medications

  • Topical medications that are applied to the skin, such as corticosteroids, estrogen, or anesthetics
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Prescription pain relievers

Physical Therapy

Therapy can help you strengthen and relax your pelvic muscles. This will ease muscle spasms. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in pelvic floor issues.

Other Treatments

Suggested treatments for vulvodynia include:
  • Injections
  • Nerve stimulation or nerve blocks
  • Surgery

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent vulvodynia.

RESOURCES

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org

National Vulvodynia Association http://www.nva.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Women's Health Network http://www.cwhn.ca

Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org

References

ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 93: Diagnosis and management of vulvar skin disorders. Obstet Gynecol. 2008;111:5):1243-1253. Reaffirmed 2013.

What is vulvodynia? National Vulvodynia Association website. Available at:http://www.nva.org/what-is-vulvodynia. Accessed June 26, 2013.

Vulvodynia. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/vulvodynia.html. Updated August 2010. Accessed June 26, 2013.

Vulvodynia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 25, 2013. Accessed June 26, 2013.

Vulvodynia. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website. Available at: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/vulvodynia/Pages/default.aspx. Updated April 3, 2013. Accessed June 26, 2013.

4/7/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Reed BD, Legocki LJ, Plegue MA, Sen A, Haefner HK, Harlow SD. Factors associated with vulvodynia incidence. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;123(2.1):225-231.

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