Vulvodynia is a chronic pain disorder of the vulva, with an unknown cause. It effects between 3-15% of women, but is underreported and many times misdiagnosed. Definitive treatment options are limited due to lack of research and data collected. The purpose of this study is to show that physical therapy is the appropriate treatment for women with vulvodynia.
Patients from our tertiary care center were sent to a physical therapy office where the Vulvar Pain Functional Status Questionnaire (VQ) was collected on patients who met the diagnostic criteria for vulvodynia. The VQ is a validated survey that consists of 11 questions and has a total of 33 points with the more points received correlating to higher levels of pain. The VQ was collected when physical therapy started and then on the last day of treatment. A paired samples t-test was completed to detect differences in pre and post VQ scores for patients who completed both surveys.
Thirty-six patients were eligible for inclusion in the study. Prior to starting physical therapy the mean VQ result was 11.11 (SD: 4.21) and after physical therapy was 6.78 (SD: 4.83) (P <.0001). A significant decrease in the mean score indicates that women improved after receiving physical therapy for vulvodynia.
We conclude that physical therapy is an effective treatment for women who have been diagnosed with vulvodynia.
University of Kansas Medical School, Kansas City, KS
Financial Disclosure: The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.