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Vulvodynia, also referred to as “the pain down there” or also as “feminine pain,” is chronic
discomfort or pain of the vulva, which is the area around the outside of the vagina. Vulva is
the external female genitalia, including the labia, the clitoris, and vaginal opening.
Researchers estimate that as many as 18 percent of women will experience symptoms
consistent with vulvodynia .
What is vulvodynia?
Vulvodynia is a term used to describ chronic pain or discomfort of the vula. Health care
providers do not know what causes vulvodynia, though some researches suggest vulvodynia
is related to infection and self-efficacy. [2,3] It is diagnosed when other causes of vulvar
pain, such as infection or skin diseases, are ruled out. NICHD-funded research estimates
that as many as 16 percent of women suffer from chronic vulvar pain at some time in their
What are the symptoms of vulvodynia?
The main symptom of vulvodynia is pain. The type of pain can be different for each woman.
Vulvodynia can cause burning, stinging, irritation, or rawness of the vulva. Pain may move
around or always be in the same place. It can be constant, or come and go.
What is the treatment for vulvodynia?
There is currently no cure for vulvodynia. But there are treatments for some of the
symptoms. Some current treatments include local pain relievers (medications), physical
therapy, changes in diet, and drug treatment.
However, a randomized, prospective trial suggests that self-management has a modest
effect and that low-dose amitriptyline (with and without topical triamcinolone) is not effective
in reducing pain in women with vulvodynia.
Because each woman’s symptoms may be different, no one treatment works all the time or is
right for everyone. If you have chronic vulvar pain or discomfort, talk to your health care
provider about possible treatments.
 Nguyen RH, Swanson D, Harlow BL. Urogenital infections in relation to the occurrence of vulvodynia. J
Reprod Med. 2009 Jun;54(6):385-92.  Desrochers G, Bergeron S, Khalifé S, Dupuis MJ, Jodoin M.Fear
avoidance and self-efficacy in relation to pain and sexual impairment in women with provoked
vestibulodynia. Clin J Pain. 2009 Jul-Aug;25(6):520-7.  Brown CS, Wan J, Bachmann G, Rosen R. Self-
management, amitriptyline, and amitripyline plus triamcinolone in the management of vulvodynia. J
Womens Health (Larchmt). 2009 Feb;18(2):163-9.