Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms

Chronic Vulvar Pain Overview

Another name for Chronic Vulvar Pain is Vulvodynia.

What is vulvodynia?
A woman with vulvodynia has chronic pain or discomfort in the labia, vagina or clitoris. Women with the diagnosis of vulvodynia have had all other common causes for vaginal pain excluded through testing. This includes Bartholin's cyst, genital sores, vaginitis, and venereal disease. Vulvodynia can last for weeks to months. In some rare cases, the symptoms can last for years. Almost all women suffer from vaginal pain at some point during their lives, but few will develop vulvodynia.

What are the symptoms of vulvodynia?
Symptoms of vulvodynia include burning pain or irritation around the opening to the vagina (vulva). Vagina itching may be present in some women.

How does the doctor treat vulvodynia?
The treatment for vulvodynia focuses on relieving symptoms. Treatment may include tricyclic antidepressants or anticonvulsants (carbamazepine, gabapentin). Antihistamines, such as hydroxyzine may help to relieve itching. Other treatment options include biofeedback therapy, local anesthetics, and surgery.

Continue to Chronic Vulvar Pain Symptoms

Last Updated: Jul 31, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Chronic Vulvar Pain References
  1. Edwards L. New concepts in vulvodynia. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Sep;189(3 Suppl):S24-30. [14532900]
  2. Edwards L. Subsets of vulvodynia: overlapping characteristics. J Reprod Med. 2004 Nov;49(11):883-7. [15603098]
  3. Haefner HK, Collins ME, Davis GD, Edwards L, Foster DC, Hartmann ED, Kaufman RH, Lynch PJ, Margesson LJ, Moyal-Barracco M, Piper CK, Reed BD, Stewart EG, Wilkinson EJ. The vulvodynia guideline. J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2005 Jan;9(1):40-51. [15870521]
  4. Lotery HE, McClure N, Galask RP. Vulvodynia. Lancet. 2004 Mar 27;363(9414):1058-60. [15065562]
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