Clinical profile of vulvodynia patients. A prospective study of 300 patients

J Reprod Med. 2000 Aug;45(8):679-84.


Objective: To define the demographic and clinical characteristics of women presenting with vulvodynia.

Study design: Vulvodynia patients seen by the author between September 1996 and June 1999 were included in the study. Patients completed a standardized questionnaire and were interviewed and clinically examined.

Results: Three hundred one patients completed the questionnaire. The average age was 38 years old, 72% reported postsecondary education, 54% were nulligravid, and 55% were married. Average duration of symptoms was 38 months. Patients reported dyspareunia (71%), vulvar burning (57%) and vulvar itching (46%). One-third reported problems with sexual response. The majority (64%) reported a "history" of yeast infections. Over 64% of the time all therapeutic interventions tried by patients made the vulvar symptoms no better or worse. Approximately 55% reported another chronic health condition. Positive physical findings were often limited to inflammation in the vestibule (25%) and pain on palpation of the posterior vestibule (69%). Patients reported that their vulvodynia limited their physical activities.

Conclusion: Physicians should approach management of vulvodynia using a chronic pain model that emphasizes multidisciplinary health care and "improvement" in health, rather than single interventions and cure of disease.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Therapeutic
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease
  • Coitus
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Gravidity
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycoses / complications
  • Pain / complications
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vagina / pathology
  • Vaginal Smears
  • Vulvar Diseases / complications
  • Vulvar Diseases / etiology
  • Vulvar Diseases / psychology*