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About Vulvodynia


Since vulvodynia is not simply a gynecological condition, many experts favor a multi-disciplinary approach to its management. Treatment may involve visiting a gynecologist or vulvovaginal specialist, dermatologist, neurologist, pain management specialist, urogynecologist, and/or physical therapist. Also, because vulvodynia typically affects a woman’s sexual relationships and emotional well-being, your provider may recommend a psychologist or couples/sex therapist.  

Because we don’t know what causes vulvodynia, treatment is directed towards alleviating symptoms and usually provides partial or complete pain relief.  Some women experience relief with a particular treatment, while others do not respond or experience unacceptable side effects. No single treatment is appropriate for all women with vulvodynia and it may take time to find a treatment, or combination of treatments, that alleviates your pain. 

Current treatments include:

  • Discontinuation of Irritants

  • Oral “Pain-Blocking” Medications

    • Tricyclic Antidepressants

    • Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors

    • Anticonvulsants

    • Opioids

  • Topical Medications

    • Topical Hormonal Creams (e.g., estrogen, testosterone)

    • Topical Anesthetics (e.g., lidocaine)

    • Topical Compounded Formulations (e.g., anticonvulsant, antidepressant)

  • Pelvic Floor Muscle Therapy

  • Nerve Blocks

  • Diet Modification

  • Neurostimulation and Spinal Infusion Pump

  • Complementary or Alternative Medicine

  • Surgery (for women with Vulvar Vestibulitis Syndrome/Provoked Vestibulodynia)

For a thorough explanation of these (and other) treatments, please view NVA’s Online Teaching Program

To read articles on these treatments written by vulvodynia experts, please visit our Newsletter page

The National Vulvodynia Association is a nonprofit organization that strives to improve women's lives through education, support, advocacy and research funding. The NVA is not a medical authority and strongly recommends that you consult your own health care provider regarding any course of treatment or medication.