Vulvodynia is chronic pain or discomfort of the vulva. The vulva includes the:
The cause of vulvodynia is not known. Some possibilities include:
Vulvodynia is more common in women who are younger. Other factors that increase your chance of developing vulvodynia include:
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:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
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.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
National Vulvodynia Association
Canadian Women's Health Network
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
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.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Andrea Chisholm, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.