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Vulvar Pain: A Comprehensive Review

Strauhal, M J PT1; Frahm, Jane PT2; Morrison, Pamela PT,DPT3; Featherstone, Wendy BS,PT4; Hartman, Dee PT5; Florendo, Judith PT6; Parker, Susan PT7

Journal of Women's Health Physical Therapy:
Literature Review

Background:: Vulvar pain or vulvodynia is a poorly understood, understudied, and devastating condition affecting the lives of many women. A subset of vulvar pain known as local provoked vestibulodynia (LPV), previously known as vulvar vestibulitis syndrome (VVS), is a condition defined by symptoms and the exclusion of identifiable pathologies. There is little in the way of evidence‐based literature to guide the physical therapist in the evaluation and management of LPV.

Purpose/Method:: To review current theory and evidence for the diagnosis of LPV by a review of literature and use of surveys to practitioners.

Results:: The Vulvar Pain Task Force makes recommendations for physical therapy evaluation and management of LPV. Recommendations address the need for physical therapy research in the field of vulvar pain.

Conclusion:: Many different interventions for LPV exist with a paucity of evidence for their effectiveness. Physical therapists are encouraged to seek ongoing educational opportunities and interdisciplinary interactions in the area of vulvar pain conditions, to study and use appropriate measurement tools and outcome measures, and to engage in research to add the physical therapy perspective to the growing body of evidence in the literature.

Author Information

1Providence St. Vincent Medical Center Rehabilitation Services, Portland, Oregon

2Guest Editor for this issue, Coordinator Women's Health Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Detroit Medical Center, Detroit, MI

3Pamela Morrison Physical Therapy, PC, New York, NY

4Specialty Physical Therapy, Rochester, NY

5Dee Hartmann Physical Therapy for Women, Chicago, IL

6Florendo Physical Therapy, PC, Chicago, IL

7Greater Rochester Physical Therapy, PC, Rochester, NY

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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