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