Health care providers who treat vulvodynia do not have evidence-based guidelines to help them select the most appropriate treatment for each patient. Although there are 30 possible treatments to relieve symptoms, there is little, if any, controlled research on most of them. Thus, the burden is on the patient to determine the efficacy of each treatment, a trial and error process that often takes several years.
Although clinical research is lacking, the NVA has awarded over 50 grants to study the potential causes of vulvodynia. Once they establish the cause(s), researchers will understand what treatment(s) need to be developed. To date, the NVA has spent one million dollars on grants awarded from the NVA Medical Research Fund and the Career Development Award to help researchers collect pilot data, so they can subsequently obtain larger grants from major institutions, such as the National Institutes of Health. Some of our grant recipients have been successful in obtaining multimillion-dollar grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and other institutions.
To increase awareness of research pertaining to vulvodynia and other vulvar pain conditions, the NVA maintains a reference list of all medical research published on chronic vulvar pain disorders since 1965 and provides a biannual update on recently published studies.