Background: Vulvodynia is a disabling condition in which pelvic floor muscles' (PFM) hypertonicity plays an important role.
Aim: To evaluate biometric changes in PFM in women with vulvodynia undergoing kinesiotherapy treatment protocol (KTP).
Methods: A single-blinded randomized controlled trial of 57 women with vulvodynia randomly assigned to either KTP + amitriptyline or amitriptyline alone (controls) for treatment. Four-dimensional translabial ultrasound assessed PFM regarding symphysis-levator distance at rest, anorectal angle at rest, excursion of the levator plate angle, and levator hiatal narrowing. Volunteers underwent a vaginal examination for a cotton swab test (CST), fulfillment of Friedrich criteria score and PFM power of contraction, and completed a diary of sexual pain and frequency of vaginal intercourse. Outcomes were assessed at baseline and after 8 weeks of treatment.
Outcomes: Primary outcomes were differences in biometric parameters assessed by four-dimensional translabial ultrasound after treatment, between groups. Secondary outcomes were changes in clinical variables (CST, Friedrich criteria, PFM power of contraction, frequency of intercourse, and intensity of sexual pain) between groups and correlation analysis between biometric parameters and clinical variables.
Results: Only the KTP group had statistically significant changes in biometric parameters after treatment (symphysis-levator distance: 0.22 ± 0.2, 95% CI = 0.1-0.4, P = .008; levator hiatal narrowing: -0.33 ± 0.2, 95% CI = -1 to -0.2, P = .04). Comparisons between groups showed that symphysis-levator distance (0.3, 95% CI = 0.2-0.6, P = .005) and excursion of levator plate angle (4.9, 95% CI = -0.4 to 10.1, P = .02) improved significantly after KTP treatment. Clinical variables showed greater improvement in the group treated with KTP for CST (difference of -3.7, 95% CI = -7 to -0.4, P = .01), Friedrich criteria (difference of -1.9, 95% CI = -3.2 to -0.6, P = .003), PFM power of contraction (0.3, 95% CI = 0.1-0.6, P = .05) and intensity of sexual pain (reduction of 1.7, 95% CI = -3.1 to -0.2, P = .01). Some clinical and biometric variables correlated positively, for example, frequency of vaginal intercourse and anorectal angle (P = .04; r = 0.25), or inversely, for example, pain intensity at CST and anorectal angle (P = .004, r = -0.31).
Clinical implications: This study provides evidence on efficiency of a physical therapy protocol for improvement of symptoms of vulvodynia and hypertonicity changes.
Conclusion: This pilot study suggests that KTP for women with vulvodynia promoted significant changes in PFM biometric measures, consistent with alterations in hypertonicity and clinical improvement. Bardin MG, Giraldo PC, Martinho N. Pelvic Floor Biometric Changes Assessed by 4D Translabial Ultrassound in Women With Vulvodynia Submitted to Physical Therapy: A Pilot Study of a Randomized Controlled Trial. J Sex Med 2020;17:2236-2246.
Keywords: Female, Women's Sexual Health; Medical (Nonpharmacotherapy) Management; Pain; Physical Therapy; Sexual Pain Disorders.
Copyright © 2020 International Society for Sexual Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.