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Encyclopedia > Vulvodynia
Vulvodynia
Classification and external resources
ICD-9 625.9

Vulvodynia refers to a disorder of vulvar pain, burning, and discomfort that interferes with the quality of life. No discernible physical lesion other than perhaps some redness of the vestibule is present. The cause can sometimes be attributed to trauma, but in many other cases its origin is unknown. The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (most commonly known by the abbreviation ICD) provides codes to classify diseases and a wide variety of signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances and external causes of injury or disease. ... The following is a list of codes for International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. ... The vulva (from Latin, vulva, plural vulvae or vulvas; see etymology) is the region of the external genital organs of the female, including the labia majora, mons pubis, labia minora, clitoris, bulb of the vestibule, vestibule of the vagina, greater and lesser vestibular glands, and vaginal orifice. ...

Contents

Localized vulvodynia / Vulvar vestibulitis

The condition is one of exclusion and other vulvovaginal problems should be ruled out. Infections, such as Yeast infections and Bacterial vaginosis, and the diseases listed in the differential diagnosis need to be considered. The pain may be generalized or localized in the vulvar region. Localized, vulvodynia in the vestibular region is referred to as vulvar vestibulitis and also vestibulodynia. The pain of vulvodynia may extend into the clitoris; this is referred to as Clitorodynia. It is unclear if these conditions are manifestations of the same disease process as the differential diagnosis is the same and the cause unknown. The pain may be provoked by contact with an object, as is the case with vulvar vestibulitis, or it may be constant. Candidiasis, commonly called yeast infection or thrush, is a fungal infection of any of the Candida species, of which Candida albicans is probably the most common. ... Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common cause of vaginal infection (vaginitis). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Possible causes

A wide variety of possible causes and treatments for vulvodynia are currently being explored. Some possible causes include: allergy or other sensitivity to chemicals or organisms normally found in the environment, autoimmune disorder similar to lupus erythematosus, chronic tension or spasm of the muscles of the vulvar area, infection, injury, chemical sensitivity and neuropathy. Some cases seem to be negative outcomes of genital surgery, such as a labiectomy. Dr. John Willems, head, division of obstetrics and gynecology, Scripps Clinic believes that vulvodynia is a subset of fibromyalgia. Vulvodynia is also frequently found in patients suffering from interstitial cystitis. Recent (2006/2007) literature also suggests this may be a symptom of late onset (3 months to 2 years post transplant) chronic graft vs host disease (cGVHD) for bone marrow and peripheral stem cell transplant patients. Autoimmune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. ... Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE or lupus) is a chronic autoimmune disease that can be fatal, though with recent medical advances, fatalities are becoming increasingly rare. ... Fibromyalgia (FM) is stated to be a disorder classified by the presence of chronic widespread pain and tactile allodynia. ... Interstitial cystitis (commonly abbreviated to IC) is a urinary bladder disease of unknown cause characterised by urinary frequency (as often as every 10 minutes), urgency, pressure and/or pain in the bladder and/or pelvis. ...


Diagnosis

The diagnosis is based on the typical complaints of the patient, essentially normal physical findings, and the absence of identifiable causes per the differential diagnosis. A cotton “swab test” is used to delineate the areas of pain and categorize their severity. Patients often will describe the touch of a cotton ball as extremely painful, like the scraping of a knife.
Many sufferers will see several doctors before a correct diagnosis is made. Many gynecologists are not familiar with this family of conditions, but awareness has spread with time. Sufferers are also often hesitant to seek treatment for chronic vulvar pain, especially since many women begin experiencing symptoms around the same time they become sexually active. Moreover, the absence of any visible symptoms means that before being successfully diagnosed many patients are told that the pain is "in their head".


Differential diagnosis

  1. Infections: candidiasis, herpes, HPV
  2. Inflammation: lichen planus
  3. Neoplasm: Paget's disease, vulvar carcinoma
  4. Neurologic disorder: neuralgia secondary to herpes virus, spinal nerve injury

... HPV is an initialism that can mean : Human Powered Vehicle Human papillomavirus a type of STD High Production Volume Chemicals Health Purchasing Victoria Hypoxic Pulmonary Vasoconstriction This page concerning a three-letter acronym or abbreviation is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share... Lichen planus is an inflammatory disease that affects the skin and the oral mucosa. ... Extramammary Paget’s disease (EMPD), also Extramammary Paget disease, is a usually non-invasive adenocarcinoma of the skin outside of the mammary gland and includes Pagets disease of the vulva and Pagets disease of the penis. ... Vulvar cancer, a malignant invasive growth in the vulva, accounts for about 4 % of all gynecological cancers and typically affects women in later life. ... Neuralgia is a painful disorder of the nerves. ...

Treatment

There is no uniform treatment approach and numerous proposed treatments are based primarily on empirical experience and opinion. Treatment is often very different from physician to physician and many patients will have to change their course of treatment when primary attempts fail. Treatments include:

  1. Vulvar care measures: cotton underwear, no synthetics; avoidance of vulvar irritants (douching, shampoos, perfumes, detergents); water cleaning only (no soaps); cotton menstrual pads; lubrication for intercourse; rinsing and patting dry the vulva after urination.
  2. Medications: topicals, oral, and injectable medication that include anesthetics, estrogens, tricyclic antidepressants compounded into a topical form or systemic, local steroids.
  3. Diet: a low-oxalate diet (for vulvodynia associated with oxalate kidney stones).
  4. Biofeedback and physical therapy: Physical therapists go inside the vagina and physically work out the muscles. The vestibule can be worked out by massaging the area over time. Stretching exercises may also be incorporated.
  5. Surgery: vestibulectomy. During a vestibulectomy, the innervated fibers are excised. A vaginal extension may be performed, in which vaginal tissue is pulled forward and sewn in place of the removed skin. The success rate of a vestibulectomy varies from a low of 60% (Stewart, 2002) to as high as 93% (Goldstein et al, 2006). There are over 20 studies citing a success rate greater than 80% (Goldstein, online).

The guidelines in Vulvovaginal health may be of some help.
Patients may also change birth control methods: active birth control may be taken continuously so as to eliminate menstration, which can aggravate symptoms. For other uses, see Cotton (disambiguation). ... Manneken Pis of Brussels. ... Chemical structure of the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline Tricyclic antidepressants are a class of antidepressant drugs first used in the 1950s. ... An oxalate (called also: ethanedioate) is a salt or ester of oxalic acid. ... Kidney stones are solid accretions (crystals) of dissolved minerals in urine found inside the kidneys or ureters. ... Biofeedback mechanism. ... Physical therapy (or physiotherapy[1]) is the provision of services to people and populations to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan. ... Vulvovaginal health is the health and sanitation of the human female vulva and vagina. ...



Sex
Sufferers are often encouraged to explore sexual activity besides intercourse, which is often a major source of pain. Dry sex is strongly discouraged as it may cause further irritation, whilst oral sex will often be less painful. Patients may seek the assistance of a sex therapist. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Dry sex is a sexual practice of minimizing vaginal secretions by using intravaginal desiccants, by wiping out the vagina, or by other methods before and during sexual intercourse, thus making the womans vagina dry and tight. ... Oral sex consists of all sexual activities that involve the use of the mouth, which may include use of the tongue, teeth, and throat, to stimulate genitalia. ... Sex therapy is the treatment of sexual dysfunction, such as non-consumation, premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction, problems commonly caused by stress, tiredness and other environmental and relationship factors. ...


Vulvodynia in the media

In Season 4, Episode 2 "The Real Me" of Sex and the City, Charlotte is diagnosed with Vulvodynia and prescribed antidepressants. This episode was received with much criticism, notably from the National Vulvodynia Association, which objected to the portrayal of the condition as a fleeting, minor condition. Season 1, Episode 3 ("In Which Addison Finds the Magic") of Private Practice includes a couple seeking treatment for vulvar vestibulitis and Vaginismus. Again, the topic was treated with ignorance about the severe and debilitating nature of the two conditions and made so many mistakes regarding the treatment of them both as to render the episode devoid of anything accurate or informative. This article is about the television series. ... List of Private Practice episodes In Which Addison Finds the Magic is an episode from the medical drama show and the Greys Anatomy spin-off show, Private Practice. ... Private Practice is a spin-off of the popular television show, Greys Anatomy. ... Vaginismus is a condition which affects a womans ability to engage in any form of vaginal penetration, including sexual penetration, insertion of tampons, and the penetration involved in gynecological examinations. ...


Susanna Kaysen, well-known for her novel, Girl, Interrupted, and its film adaptation, has also published The Camera My Mother Gave Me, a novel concerning her own experience with vulvodynia and its debilitating symptoms. Susanna Kaysen (born 11 November 1948) is an American author. ... This article is about the book. ...


References

ACOG Committee on Gynecologic Practice (2006). "ACOG Committee Opinion Number 345: Vulvodynia". Obstet Gynecol 108 (4): 1049–1052.  PMID 17012483 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is a professional association of medical doctors specializing in obstetrics and gynecology in the United States. ...


Stewart, Elizabeth; Paula Spencer (2002). The V Book: A Doctor's Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health. Bantam Trade Paperback, pp. 297-328. ISBN 0-553-38114-8. 


Goldstein, Andrew T.; Marinoff, Stanley C.; Christopher, Kurt & Johnson, Crista (2006), "Surgical Treatment of Vulvar Vestibulitis Syndrome: Outcome Assessment Derived from a Postoperative Questionnaire", The Journal Of Sexual Medicine 3 (5): 923-931  PMID 17012483


Goldstein, Andrew (2005), 14 Different Treatments for Vulvar Vestibulitis Syndrome, <http://www.ourgyn.com/content/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=66>. Retrieved on 2007-10-25  Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 298th day of the year (299th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibromyalgia, by R. Paul St. Amand, MD and Claudia Craig Marek, Warner Wellness, 2006.


Vulvodynia-Treatment Kits include soothing Calendula Creme: http://www.Vulvodynia-Treatment.com


See also

Biofeedback
Gabapentin Biofeedback mechanism. ... Gabapentin (brand name Neurontin) is a medication originally developed for the treatment of epilepsy. ...


External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Health Centres: Vulvodynia (245 words)
Vulvodynia literally means 'pain in the vulva.' Vulvodynia is actually a symptom, like stomach cramps, which may have many different causes.
Experts used to believe that sexual abuse was the primary cause of vulvodynia and that vulvodynia was a psychological condition not a physical one.
Vulvodynia is not "just in your head," but it can influence many aspects of your life beyond the purely physical.
Vulvodynia: Vulvar Pain (769 words)
Vulvodynia is defined as chronic vulvar discomfort or pain that can last anywhere from a few months to a few years.
Vulvar vestibulitis is a type of vulvodynia in which pain is only experienced when pressure is applied to the vestibule, which is the area surrounding the entrance to the vagina.
A woman is diagnosed with vulvodynia when her symptoms of pain have lasted for at least 6 months and when other causes of vulvar pain (i.e.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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