Vulvodynia

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Vulvodynia (also called "vestibulodynia"[1]) is a chronic pain syndrome categorized in the ICD-9 group 625—specifically ICD-9 625.7, which is for pain and other disorders of the female genital organs.[2] It refers to pain of the vulva unexplained by vulvar or vaginal infection or skin disease.[3]

The term "vulvodynia" simply refers to "vulvar pain", and does not imply a specific cause.[4]

Contents

Symptoms

Pain is the most notable symptom of vulvodynia, and can be characterized as a burning, stinging, irritation or sharp pain that occurs in the vulva, including the labia and entrance to the vagina. It may be constant, intermittent or happening only when the vulva is touched, but vulvodynia is usually defined as lasting for at least 3 months.

Symptoms may occur in one place or the entire vulvar area. It can occur during or after sexual activity, when tampons are inserted, or when prolonged pressure is applied to the vulva, such as during sitting, bike riding, or horseback riding.[5] Some cases of vulvodynia appear random where no particular cause can be determined.

It may interfere with a woman’s emotional well-being, at times leading to depression.[6]

Vulvar vestibulitis

The pain may be localized to the vulvar region. Localized vulvodynia in the vestibular region (the entry point into the vagina) is referred to as vulvar vestibulitis or vestibulodynia. It often causes dyspareunia, or pain with sexual intercourse (though dyspareunia also affects men). The pain of vulvodynia may extend into the clitoris; this is referred to as clitorodynia.

The pain may be provoked by contact with an object, such as with the insertion of a tampon or penis or with the pressure from sitting on a bicycle seat, or it may be constant, as in the case of generalized vulvodynia. Some women have had pain since their first penetration (primary vulvar vestibulitis) while some have had it after a period of time with pain free penetration (secondary vulvar vestibulitis).[7]

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