Vulvodynia: A state-of-the-art consensus on definitions, diagnosis and management

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.
The Journal of reproductive medicine (Impact Factor: 0.7). 07/2006; 51(6):447-56.
Source: PubMed


Vulvodynia is a chronic pain syndrome affecting up to 18% of the female population. Despite its high prevalence and associated distress, the etiology, diagnosis and clinical management of the disorder have not been clearly delineated. This "white paper" describes the findings and recommendations of a consensus conference panel based on a comprehensive review of the published literature on vulvodynia in addition to expert presentations on research findings and clinical management approaches. The consensus panel also identified key topics and issues forfurther research, including the role of inflammatory mechanisms and genetic factors and psychosexual contributors.

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    • "Chronic vulvar pain affects approximately 8% of the female population under 40 years old in the USA [1], with prevalence increasing to 18% across the lifespan [2]. Pharmaceutical therapy for vulvar pain has been found to be only moderately effective, with combined therapies including physical, psychological, and alternative therapies eliciting the greatest relief [3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Context. Vulvar pain level may fluctuate in women with vulvodynia even in the absence of therapy; however, there is little evidence suggesting which factors may be associated with variability. Objective. Determine the feasibility of using smartphones to collect prospective data on vulvar pain and factors that may influence vulvar pain level. Methods. 24 clinically confirmed women were enrolled from a population-based study and asked to answer five questions using their smartphones each week for one month. Questions assessed vulvar pain level (0-10), presence of pain upon wakening, pain elsewhere in their body, treatment use, and intercourse. Results. Women completed 100% of their scheduled surveys, with acceptability measures highly endorsed. Vulvar pain ratings had a standard deviation within women of 1.6, with greater variation on average among those with higher average pain levels (P < 0.001). On the weeks when a woman reported waking with pain, her vulvar pain level was higher by 1.82 on average (P < 0.001). Overall, average vulvar pain level was not significantly associated with the frequency of reporting other body pains (P = 0.64). Conclusion. Our smartphone tracking system promoted excellent compliance with weekly tracking of factors that are otherwise difficult to recall, some of which were highly associated with vulvar pain level.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Pain Research and Treatment
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    • "Our findings confirm that FMS and PVD syndromes can develop independently and that patients affected by FMS + PVD display sexual disfunctions similar to those reported by patients affected only by PVD [12, 49, 50]. The reduction in the intercourse frequency in FMS + PVD compared to FMS may be due not only to coital pain but also to the greater symptom severity which influences these patients quality of life [6, 51]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. The aim of the study was to compare the pain symptoms of fibromyalgia patients exhibiting (FMS+PVD) and not exhibiting (FMS) comorbidity with provoked vulvodynia. Study Design. The case control study was performed in 39 patients who had been diagnosed with FMS and accepted to undergo gynaecological examination and in 36 healthy women (C). All patients completed standardized questionnaires for pain intensity, pain area, and psychological functioning. The gynaecological examination included vulvar pain pressure reactivity (Q-tip), pelvic tone assessment (Kegel manoeuver), and a semistructured interview collecting detailed information about pelvic symptoms and sexual function. Results. FMS+PVD patients displayed a higher number of associated symptoms than FMS patients. The vulvar excitability was significantly higher in FMS+PVD than in FMS and in both groups than in Controls. Half of FMS+PVD patients were positive to Kegel manoeuver and displayed higher scores in widespread pain intensity, STAI-Y2, and CESD levels than Kegel negative patients. Conclusions. The study reveals that increased vulvar pain excitability may occur in FMS patients independently of the presence of coital pain. Results suggest that coital pain develops in patients with higher FMS symptoms severity due to the cooperative effects of peripheral and central sensitization mechanisms.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Pain Research and Treatment
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    • "Approximately 8%–18% of American women at some point in their lives have had chronic vulvar pain symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of vulvodynia.1–4 As defined by the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disorders, vulvodynia is characterized by vulvar discomfort in the absence of gross anatomical and neurological findings.3 This condition can be further subdivided into multiple classifications, highlighting its heterogeneous nature. "
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    ABSTRACT: The pattern and extent of clustering of comorbid pain conditions with vulvodynia is largely unknown. However, elucidating such patterns may improve our understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved in these common causes of chronic pain. We sought to describe the pattern of comorbid pain clustering in a population-based sample of women with diagnosed vulvodynia. A total of 1457 women with diagnosed vulvodynia self-reported their type of vulvar pain as localized, generalized, or both. Respondents were also surveyed about the presence of comorbid pain conditions, including temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, interstitial cystitis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, endometriosis, and chronic headache. Age-adjusted latent class analysis modeled extant patterns of comorbidity by vulvar pain type, and a multigroup model was used to test for the equality of comorbidity patterns using a comparison of prevalence. A two-class model (no/single comorbidity versus multiple comorbidities) had the best fit in individual and multigroup models. For the no/single comorbidity class, the posterior probability prevalence of item endorsement ranged from 0.9% to 24.4%, indicating a low probability of presence. Conversely, the multiple comorbidity class showed that at least two comorbid conditions were likely to be endorsed by at least 50% of women in that class, and irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia were the most common comorbidities regardless of type of vulvar pain. Prevalence of the multiple comorbidity class differed by type of vulvar pain: both (37.6% prevalence, referent), generalized (21.6% prevalence, adjusted odds ratio 0.41, 95% confidence interval 0.27-0.61), or localized (12.5% prevalence, adjusted odds ratio 0.31, 95% confidence interval 0.21-0.47). This novel work provides insight into potential shared mechanisms of vulvodynia by describing that a prominent comorbidity pattern involves having both irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. In addition, the prevalence of a multiple comorbidity class pattern increases with increasing severity of vulvar pain.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Journal of Pain Research
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