Committee Opinion No 673: Persistent Vulvar Pain

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Persistent vulvar pain is a complex disorder that frequently is frustrating to the patient and the clinician. It can be difficult to treat and rapid resolution is unusual, even with appropriate therapy. Vulvar pain can be caused by a specific disorder or it can be idiopathic. Idiopathic vulvar pain is classified as vulvodynia. Although optimal treatment remains unclear, consider an individualized, multidisciplinary approach to address all physical and emotional aspects possibly attributable to vulvodynia. Specialists who may need to be involved include sexual counselors, clinical psychologists, physical therapists, and pain specialists. Patients may perceive this approach to mean the practitioner does not believe their pain is “real”; thus, it is important to begin any treatment approach with a detailed discussion, including an explanation of the diagnosis and determination of realistic treatment goals. Future research should aim at evaluating a multimodal approach in the treatment of vulvodynia, along with more research on the etiologies of vulvodynia.

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