Vulvodynia is more common in women who are younger. Other factors that may increase the chance of vulvodynia include:
- History of vulvodynia
- Chronic pain or disorders associated with chronic pain
- Sleep disturbances
- Some mental health disorders, such as posttraumatic 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
You will be asked 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 fluids and tissues may need to be tested. This can be done with:
- A swab of the vaginal area
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
Medications may include:
- Topical medications that are applied to the skin, such as corticosteroids, estrogen, or anesthetics
- Prescription pain relievers
Therapy can help strengthen and relax the pelvic muscles. This will ease muscle spasms. A referral to a doctor who specializes in pelvic floor issues may be needed.
Suggested treatments for vulvodynia include:
- Nerve stimulation or nerve blocks
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org
National Vulvodynia Association http://www.nva.org
Canadian Women's Health Network http://www.cwhn.ca
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org
ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 93: Diagnosis and management of vulvar skin disorders. Obstet Gynecol. 2008;111:5):1243-1253. Reaffirmed 2013.
Vulvodynia. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/vulvodynia.html. Updated April 2014. Accessed June 8, 2016.
Vulvodynia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T128775/Vulvodynia . Updated September 23, 2016. Accessed September 27, 2016.
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 22, 2013. Accessed June 8, 2016.
What is vulvodynia? National Vulvodynia Association website. Available at: http://www.nva.org/what-is-vulvodynia. Accessed June 8, 2016.
4/7/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T128775/Vulvodynia: Reed BD, Legocki LJ, et al. Factors associated with vulvodynia incidence. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;123(2.1):225-231.