Problem: Vulvodynia, an unexplained vulvar pain, is a medical condition affecting women of all ages, races, and ethnicities and causes pain levels ranging from very mild discomfort to extreme suffering.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore women’s knowledge toward seeking care for vulvodynia and to explore the different types of treatments prescribed after diagnosis. The secondary purpose of this review was to describe the treatments most effective in reducing pain caused by vulvodynia.
Methods: A review of the literature was conducted using articles from 2001 to 2021 that focused on diagnosis of vulvodynia and the relief of pain with various types of treatment options for women diagnosed with vulvodynia. Multiple databases were used, and world-wide research was compiled for context on diagnosis of vulvodynia and treatment options that worked best to reduce pain. From the literature review, 14 articles met the inclusion criteria and were used to compare diagnosis of vulvodynia and the different treatment methods to relieve pain.
Results: All studies suggest women did not seek immediate care or have a timely diagnosis for vulvodynia because of speculation by health care providers that vulvodynia is a pseudoscience. Women avoided seeking early diagnosis due to embarrassment discussing the condition and fear of skepticism about the level of pain associated with vulvodynia. The studies showed topical ointments and complementary treatments were the most prescribed agents. Effectiveness ranged from no pain relief to complete relief, but the conclusions were relatively similar in all the results. A multidisciplinary approach to vulvodynia, with mental health professionals and gynecologic providers had the best outcomes in relieving pain and optimizing treatment.
Conclusion: Knowledge about vulvodynia is very limited due to under diagnosis and embarrassment of admitting that something is wrong. Most of the research conducted was a general overview of cases and is focused on diagnosis of the condition. Benefits of therapy differ from woman to woman and complete pain relief, or remission is elusive in many instances. CAM therapies in combination with medications for individuals with vulvodynia to alleviate pain can be useful and finding multiple methods that can be used together for pain relief is of value for further research.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)
College of Nursing
Cohen, Arianna, "The Effectiveness of Therapeutic Interventions for the Management of Vulvodynia: An Integrated Literature Review" (2022). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1123.