[vulvo- + -odynia]
Nonspecific vulvar pain of unknown cause. Common complaints include sporadic pain, dyspareunia, and pruritus. A provisional diagnosis is based on the patient's symptoms, and an absence of any other vulvovaginal or systemic pathology. Palliative treatment is individualized; some women report relief of symptoms with an oxalate-restricted diet.
SYN: SEE: vestibulodynia
SEE: vaginitis; SEE: candidal vaginitis; SEE: vulvar pruritus; SEE: vulvar vestibulitis syndrome
The Vulvar Pain Foundation provides information and support for women with vulvodynia. Address: P.O. Box 4177, Graham, NC 27253; Telephone: 336-226-0704; website: www.vulvarpainfoundation.org.
The health care professional encourages the woman to express her feelings and concerns. Careful review of the woman's history focuses on identifying coexisting disorders, and noting those factors or events that preceded the symptoms and those that increase or decrease symptoms. Instruction for the patient’s palliative self-care emphasizes personal hygiene, including care of the vulva, e.g., avoiding tight clothing, wearing 100% cotton underwear, using tampons and pads correctly; using hypoallergenic detergents; avoiding chemical irritants; reducing stress; identifying and treating infections; and offering local topical anesthetics. Other treatments include physical therapy, trigger point injections, sexual counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback, and some pain-relieving antidepressants or anticonvulsants. Most treatments are often partly effective, and some women have refractory symptoms.
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