II. Definitions

  1. Vulvodynia
    1. Vulvar Pain without obvious cause and present for at least 3 months

III. Epidemiology

  1. Most common cause of Dyspareunia in premenopausal women
  2. Prevalence: 12% (believed to be an under estimate)

IV. Pathophysiology

  1. Likely multiple causes that result in localized inflammation and secondary nerve fiber remodeling

V. 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)

VI. Symptoms

  1. Chronic vulvar discomfort
    1. Vulva is stinging, irritated, burning, and raw
  2. Timing: Onset with provocation, lasting hours to days
  3. Provocative: Intercourse, tampon, sit, tight clothes

VII. Signs

  1. Dermatitis suggests alternative diagnosis
    1. Erythema may be only finding
    2. No visible dermatoses
    3. No identifiable neurologic disorder
  2. Cotton swab testing (pressure point testing)
    1. Touch moist cotton swab to vulva and vaginal wall
      1. Vulvar vestibule
      2. Posterior introitus
      3. Posterior hymen
    2. Indent mucosa 0.5 cm
    3. Pain on indentation (especially intense, highly localized pain) suggests Vulvodynia

VIII. Diagnosis

  1. Vulvar Pain without obvious cause and present for at least 3 months

IX. Labs

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

X. 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. Herpes Simplex Virus
  6. Candida Vulvovaginitis (chronic)
  7. Lichen scleroris
  8. Lichen Planus
  9. Vulvar atrophy
  10. Vestibular Papillomatosis
  11. Paget Disease
  12. Vulvar intraepthelial neoplasia
  13. Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  14. Local Skin Trauma or iatrogenic injury (e.g. Radiation Therapy, prior surgery)
  15. Peripheral Neuropathy
    1. Pudendal Neuropathy
    2. Ilioinguinal Neuropathy
    3. Genitofemoral Neuropathy

XII. Management: General

  1. Support group
  2. Physical therapy with pelvic floor biofeedback
  3. Cognitive behavior therapy
  4. Mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy

XIII. 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. Not typically recommended as not found better than Placebo (may be trialed short-term)
    2. Cromolyn Cream 4% applied tid to introitus
      1. Requires compounding pharmacy preparation
  4. Other measures studied
    1. Intralesional Interferon injection

XIV. 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

XV. Management: Surgery

  1. Perineoplasty or Vestibulectomy
    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

XVI. Course

  1. Vulvodynia resolves spontaneously in 50% of women

XVII. Resources

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

Images: Related links to external sites (from Bing)

Related Studies

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