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Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease:
Original Articles

The Vulvodynia Guideline

Haefner, Hope K. MD1; Collins, Michael E. RPh, FIACP2; Davis, Gordon D. MD3; Edwards, Libby MD4; Foster, David C. MD, MPH5; Hartmann, Elizabeth (Dee) Heaton PT6; Kaufman, Raymond H. MD7; Lynch, Peter J. MD8; Margesson, Lynette J. MD9; Moyal-Barracco, Micheline MD10; Piper, Claudia K. ACSW11; Reed, Barbara D. MD, MSPH12; Stewart, Elizabeth G. MD13; Wilkinson, Edward J. MD14

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Objective. To provide a review of the literature and make known expert opinion regarding the treatment of vulvodynia.

Materials and Methods. Experts reviewed the existing literature to provide new definitions for vulvar pain and to describe treatments for this condition.

Results. Vulvodynia has been redefined by the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease as vulvar discomfort in the absence of gross anatomic or neurologic findings. Classification is based further on whether the pain is generalized or localized and whether it is provoked, unprovoked, or both. Treatments described include general vulvar care, topical medications, oral medications, injectables, biofeedback and physical therapy, dietary changes with supplementations, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and surgery. No one treatment is clearly the best for an individual patient.

Conclusions. Vulvodynia has many possible treatments, but very few controlled trials have been performed to verify efficacy of these treatments. Provided are guidelines based largely on expert opinion to assist the patient and practitioner in dealing with this condition.

©2005The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology


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