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J Sex Marital Ther. 2002 May-Jun;28(3):183-92.

Physical therapy for vulvar vestibulitis syndrome: a retrospective study.

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Department of Sexology, Université du Québec à Montréal, C. P. 8888, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3C 3P8.


This retrospective study evaluated the effectiveness of physical therapy in relieving painful intercourse and improving sexual function in women diagnosed with vulvar vestibulitis. This syndrome is a frequent cause of premenopausal dyspareunia and is characterized by a sharp, burning pain located within and limited to the vulvar vestibule (vaginal entry) and elicited primarily via pressure applied to the area. Participants were 35 women with vulvar vestibulitis who took part in physical therapy treatment for an average of 7 sessions. We conducted telephone interviews to assess whether physical therapy or other subsequent treatments impacted on pain during intercourse and sexual functioning. Length of treatment follow up ranged from 2 to 44 months, with a mean of 16 months. Physical therapy yielded a complete or great improvement for 51.4% of participants, a moderate improvement for 20.0% of participants, and little to no improvement for the other 28.6%. Treatment resulted in a significant decrease in pain experienced both during intercourse and gynecological examinations; it also resulted in a significant increase in intercourse frequency and levels of sexual desire and arousal. Successful patients were significantly less educated than nonsuccessful patients. Findings demonstrate that physical therapy is a promising treatment modality for dyspareunia associated with vulvar vestibulitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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