Strategies required to improve the management of chronic vulvar discomfort in Australia

Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2002 Feb;42(1):75-8. doi: 10.1111/j.0004-8666.2002.00081.x.


Objective: To investigate factors required to improve the management of vulvar pain from a patient perspective.

Sample and setting: Sixty patients in four different specialised vulvar clinics.

Methods: Women with chronic vulvar pain were asked to complete a questionnaire whilst waiting for specialist consultation by either a dermatologist, sexual health physican, psychologist or physiotherapist.

Results: The average length of time patients had vulvar pain was 6.03 years, with a mean of 5.83 practitioners seen. Twenty-seven per cent indicated that increased awareness of vulvodynia was required by gynaecologists and 74% suggested that increased general practitioner awareness was necessary to improve care. Accurate diagnosis, and understanding lifestyle implications were key elements of patient satisfaction, considered more important than any available treatment modality.

Conclusions: Current services and skilled practitioners available for the management of chronic vulvar pain or vulvodynia in Australia do not reflect the estimated prevalence of this condition. From this study it was concluded that the three most important factors required to improve quality of care in order of importance were increased practitioner awareness, research and the setting up of more specialised multi-disciplinary clinics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Chronic Disease
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Gynecology / methods*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vulvar Diseases / complications*
  • Vulvar Diseases / therapy*