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)

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