Vulvodynia

Definition

Vulvodynia is chronic pain or discomfort of the vulva. The vulva includes the:
  • Labia majora and labia minora
  • Clitoris
  • Vaginal opening
Female Genitalia
si55550966 96472 1 vulva.jpeg
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The cause of vulvodynia is not known. Some possibilities include:
  • Injury or irritation of vulvar nerves
  • Inflammed tissue
  • Abnormal response to infection or trauma

Risk Factors

Vulvodynia is more common in women who are younger. Other factors that increase your chance of developing vulvodynia include:
  • History of vulvodynia
  • Chronic pain or disorders associated with chronic pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Some mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Recurrent yeast infections
  • Frequent use of antibiotics
  • Irritation to the genitals by soaps or detergents
  • Genital rashes
  • Previous treatment or surgery to the external genitals
  • Pelvic nerve irritation or muscle spasms

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Pain, which may come and go
  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Irritation
  • Rawness

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.Your bodily tissues and fluids may need to be tested. This can be done with:
  • Tests to check for bacteria and/or yeast
  • Biopsy

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

Advertisement

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.

What is vulvodynia? National Vulvodynia Association website. Available at: http://www.nva.org/whatIsVulvodynia.html. 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 & 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, et al. Factors associated with vulvodynia incidence. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;123(2.1):225-231.

Revision Information

Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Current Research From Top Journals


Exercise During Pregnancy May Decrease the Risk of Cesarean Birth
December 2014

Exercise during pregnancy has been associated with many benefits for mom and baby. This review supports the trend and finds that even one day of purposeful activity per week may reduce the need for cesarean birth.

dot separator
previous editions

Maternal Caffeine Intake May Be Associated with Low Birth Weight
November 2014

Prevent Eczema in Kids with a Daily Dose of Moisturizer
November 2014

Broccoli Sprout Compound Associated with Reduction in Autism Symptoms
October 2014

dashed separator

Advertisement

Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »

 

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook