A randomized comparison of group cognitive--behavioral therapy, surface electromyographic biofeedback, and vestibulectomy in the treatment of dyspareunia resulting from vulvar vestibulitis

Pain. 2001 Apr;91(3):297-306. doi: 10.1016/S0304-3959(00)00449-8.


This study compared group cognitive-behavioral therapy (12-week trial), surface electromyographic biofeedback (12-week trial), and vestibulectomy in the treatment of dyspareunia resulting from vulvar vestibulitis. Subjects were 78 women randomly assigned to one of three treatment conditions and assessed at pretreatment, posttreatment and 6-month follow-up via gynecological examinations, structured interviews and standard questionnaires pertaining to pain (Pain Rating Index and Sensory scale of the McGill Pain Questionnaire, vestibular pain index, pain during intercourse), sexual function (Sexual History Form, frequency of intercourse, Information subscale of the Derogatis Sexual Functioning Inventory), and psychological adjustment (Brief Symptom Inventory). As compared with pretreatment, study completers of all treatment groups reported statistically significant reductions on pain measures at posttreatment and 6-month follow-up, although the vestibulectomy group was significantly more successful than the two other groups. However, the apparent superiority of vestibulectomy needs to be interpreted with caution since seven women who had been assigned to this condition did not go ahead with the intervention. All three groups significantly improved on measures of psychological adjustment and sexual function from pretreatment to 6-month follow-up. Intent-to-treat analysis supported the general pattern of results of analysis by-treatment-received. Findings suggest that women with dyspareunia can benefit from both medical and behavioral interventions.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biofeedback, Psychology*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Dyspareunia / surgery*
  • Dyspareunia / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vagina / surgery
  • Vulvovaginitis / surgery
  • Vulvovaginitis / therapy