II. Definitions

  1. Vulvodynia
    1. Chronic vulvar discomfort
      1. Vulva is stinging, burning, and raw
    2. No visible dermatoses
    3. No identifiable neurologic disorder
    4. Erythema may be only finding

III. Types

  1. Spectrum of Vulvodynia
    1. Generalized Vulvar Dysesthesia
    2. Localized Vulvar Dysesthesia
      1. Previously known as Vulvar Vestibulitis
  2. Timing
    1. Provoked Vulvodynia (triggered by touch)
    2. Unprovoked Vulvodynia (continuous Vulvodynia)

IV. Symptoms

  1. Characteristics
    1. Burning, irritating, or sharp pain
  2. Timing: Onset with provocation, lasting hours to days
  3. Provocative: Intercourse, tampon, sit, tight clothes

V. Signs

  1. Dermatitis (other than erythema) suggests alternative diagnosis
  2. Cotton swab testing
    1. Touch moist cotton swab to vulva and vaginal wall
      1. Posterior introitus
      2. Posterior hymen
    2. Indent mucosa 0.5 cm
    3. Pain on indentation (especially intense, highly localized pain) suggests Vulvodynia

VI. Labs

  1. KOH and saline (wet prep)
  2. Vulvar biopsy (consider)

VII. Differential Diagnosis

  1. See Dyspareunia
  2. Vaginismus (pelvic floor muscle spasm)
  3. Pruritus Vulvae (Chronic Vulvar Itching, no burning)
  4. Allergic Vulvitis (local Contact Dermatitis)
  5. Candida Vulvovaginitis (chronic)
  6. Lichen scleroris
  7. Lichen Planus
  8. Vulvar atrophy
  9. Vestibular Papillomatosis

VIII. Associated Conditions

IX. Management: General

  1. Support group
  2. Physical therapy with pelvic floor biofeedback
  3. Cognitive behavior therapy

X. Management: Local therapies

  1. Eliminate potential irritants (Contact Dermatitis)
    1. Avoid harsh soaps (e.g. Irish Spring)
    2. Avoid products with perfumes or dyes
    3. Avoid use of fabric softeners
    4. Avoid nylon or synthetic underwear
      1. Wear only all-cotton underwear
  2. Ineffective therapies unless specific indications
    1. Topical Estradiol cream (Estrace Cream) 0.01% bid
      1. Effective in Menopause, Atrophic Vaginitis
    2. Low potency Topical Corticosteroid ointment
      1. Effective in Lichen Sclerosus
  3. Possible benefit
    1. Lidocaine gel or cream 2-5%
      1. Apply to introitus prior to bed or intercourse
    2. Cromolyn Cream 4% applied tid to introitus
      1. Requires compounding pharmacy preparation
  4. Other measures studied
    1. Intralesional interferon injection

XI. Management: Systemic therapies

  1. Amitriptyline (Elavil)
    1. Start at 10-20 mg PO hs
    2. Advance to 25 mg PO bid-tid
    3. Anticipate over 6 months therapy
  2. Desipramine (Norpramin)
  3. Venlafaxine (Effexor) or SSRI
  4. Gabapentin (Neurontin)
  5. Other measures with possible benefit
    1. Low-Oxalate Diet
    2. Oral Calcium Citrate (Citrucel)
  6. Ineffective measures
    1. Avoid longterm Analgesics and Narcotics

XII. Management: Surgery

  1. Perineoplasty
    1. Variable outcome: Symptoms may worsen after treatment
    2. Not recommended in most cases
      1. Reserved for severe, refractory cases
      2. Vulvodynia resolves spontaneously in many cases
        1. Yet surgery is permanent
  2. CO2 Laser (listed for historical purpose)
    1. Not recommended for Vulvodynia due to poor outcomes
    2. Results in scarring and worsened symptoms

XIII. Course

  1. Vulvodynia resolves spontaneously in 50% of women

XIV. Resources

  1. National Vulvodynia Association
    1. http://www.nva.org
    2. Phone: 301-299-0775
  2. Vulvar Pain Foundation
    1. http://www.vulvarpainfoundation.org

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Related Studies (from Trip Database) Open in New Window

Ontology: Essential vulvodynia (C0269099)

Concepts Disease or Syndrome (T047)
SnomedCT 33563008
English Essential vulvodynia, Essential vulvodynia (disorder)
Spanish vulvodinia esencial (trastorno), vulvodinia esencial

Ontology: Vulvodynia (C0406670)

Definition (MSH) Complex pain syndrome with unknown etiology, characterized by constant or intermittent generalized vulva pain (Generalized vulvodynia) or localized burning sensations in the VESTIBULE area when pressure is applied (Vestibulodynia, or Vulvar Vestibulitis Syndrome). Typically, vulvar tissue with vulvodynia appears normal without infection or skin disease. Vulvodynia impacts negatively on a woman's quality of life as it interferes with sexual and daily activities.
Concepts Disease or Syndrome (T047)
MSH D056650
ICD9 625.7, 625.70
ICD10 N94.819 , N94.81
SnomedCT 238968009
English Burning vulva, vulvodynia, vulvodynia (diagnosis), vulvar burning (symptom), vulvar burning, Vulvodynia, Vulvodynias, Vulvodynia NOS, Vulvodynia, unspecified, Vulvodynia [Disease/Finding], Burning (of);vulva, discomfort of vulva, burning vulva, vulva burning, vulvar discomfort, Vulvodynia (disorder), vulval discomfort
Dutch vulvodynie
Czech Vulvodynie, vulvodynie
Japanese ガイインブツウ, 外陰部痛
French Vulvodynie
German Vulvodynie, Vulvodynia
Italian Vulvodinia
Spanish Vulvodinia, ardor en vulva, dolor urente en vulva, vulvodinia (trastorno), vulvodinia, quemazón vulvar
Russian ВЕСТИБУЛОДИНИЯ, VUL'VODINIIA, ГЕНЕРАЛИЗОВАННАЯ ВУЛЬВОДИНИЯ, VESTIBULODINIIA, GENERALIZOVANNAIA VUL'VODINIIA, ВУЛЬВОДИНИЯ
Swedish Vulvodyni
Polish Westibulodynia, Wulwodynia uogólniona, Wulwodynia
Hungarian Vulvodynia
Norwegian Essensiell vulvodyni, Vulvodyni
Portuguese Vulvodinia, Disestesia Vulvar