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About Vulvodynia

What Causes Vulvodynia?


Vulvodynia is not caused by an active infection or a sexually transmitted disease. Through continued research efforts, we move closer to uncovering the underlying cause(s) of vulvodynia. Researchers speculate that one or more of the following may cause, or contribute to, vulvodynia:

  • An injury to, or irritation of, the nerves that transmit pain and other sensations from the vulva

  • An increase in nerve fiber density in the vulvar vestibule

  • Elevated levels of inflammatory substances in the vulvar tissue

  • An abnormal response of different types of vulvar cells to environmental factors such as infection or trauma

  • Altered hormone receptor expression in the vulvar tissue

  • Genetic susceptibility to chronic vestibular inflammation

  • Genetic susceptibility to chronic widespread pain

  • Genetic factors associated with an inability to combat vulvovaginal infection

  • A localized hypersensitivity to Candida (yeast) or other vulvovaginal organism

  • Pelvic floor muscle weakness or spasm

Learn more by viewing NVA’s Online Teaching Program.


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.