NATIONAL VULVODYNIA ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES RESULTS FROM FIRST EPIDEMIOLOGIC STUDY ON CHRONIC VULVAR PAIN
Study Finds That Almost 20% of Women Experience Chronic Vulvar Pain
Boston, MA – October 16, 2001 – The National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) today announced preliminary results from the first epidemiological study on chronic vulvar pain conducted by Bernard L. Harlow, Ph.D., of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Epidemiology Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in Massachusetts.
The study suggests that almost 20% of American women have suffered from chronic vulvovaginal pain at some point in their lives. A staggering 40 percent of these women never sought treatment for the condition. Of the women who did seek treatment, the condition remained undiagnosed in nearly 40 percent.
Sadly, many women are too embarrassed to seek help for vulvodynia and attempt to self-treat with over-the-counter medications that can exacerbate the problem. Many of these women suffer from intense physical pain, which is only compounded by the emotional distress these conditions cause.”
“This study is the first significant evidence that potentially millions of women in the United States are suffering from chronic vulvar pain,” said Dr. Harlow. “While the data is preliminary, we are confident that our comprehensive study will help to discover the underlying causes of vulvar pain so that we can develop better treatment methods.”
The preliminary study surveyed 303 women from a random sample in the greater Boston area. The objective was to determine the prevalence and predictors of chronic vulvar discomfort. Dr. Harlow has subsequently received funding from the National Institutes of Health and is continuing to survey 16,000 women within the next two years. For questions regarding the study, call Jessica Collins at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 617-534-1600.
About the NVA
The National Vulvodynia Association (NVA), a non-profit organization established in 1994, began as a small local support group. Today, more than 4,000 patients and health care practitioners throughout the world belong to the organization. The NVA disseminates newsletters written by medical experts, provides support services and physician referrals, and encourages research on the disorder. Its medical advisory board is comprised of clinicians and scientists from diverse medical specialties, including gynecology, dermatology, pain management and physical therapy. For additional information, visit the NVA’s website at www.nva.org
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