Vulvar pain is a common problem, affecting up to 16% of women. The pain and discomfort seriously impacts their quality of life, and is compounded by the increasing frustration encountered in their search for appropriate medical advice. Their pain can be localized or generalized, constant or intermittent, with or without visible changes. For practitioners, the correct diagnosis and treatment of vulvar pain is a challenge. There is an extensive differential diagnosis, from problems that are simple and immediately visible to those that are much more complex and truly invisible. This review provides an approach to the diagnosis of vulvar pain. It outlines the wide range of etiologies for vulvar pain, and provides details of the most vexing in a comprehensive look at vulvodynia, including definition, theory, diagnosis, and therapy.
© 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.