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J Reprod Med. 2007 Jan;52(1):48-52.

Treatment of women in the United States with localized, provoked vulvodynia: practice survey of women's health physical therapists.

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Dee Hartmann Physical Therapy for Women, Chicago, Illinois, USA.



To identify current practice trends of physical therapists in the U.S. treating women with localized, provoked vulvodynia (LPV).


The Section on Women's Health conducted an Internet poll in July of 2005 inquiring about physical therapy care of women diagnosed with LPV. It queried clinicians' demographics, physician/clinician referral patterns, assessment/ treatment modalities and length of care.


Nearly two-thirds reported >11 years of physical therapy experience, with 42% treating women with vulvodynia for > 6 years. Most referrals were from obstetrician/gynecologists. Assessment modalities used by > 70% included detailed history; assessment of posture, tension in the pelvic floor, pelvic girdle, associated pelvic structures and bowel/bladder function; digital sEMG/pEMG testing of the pelvic floor; hip, sacroiliac joints and spine mobility; strength testing of abdominals and lower extremities; and voiding diaries. Nearly 70% utilized exercise for the pelvic girdle and pelvic floor; soft tissue mobilization/myofascial release of the pelvic girdle, pelvic floor and associated structures; joint mobilization/manipulation; bowel/bladder retraining and help with contact irritants, dietary changes and sexual function. Typical care is 60-minute weekly sessions for 7-15 weeks.


Sixty-three percent of physical therapists in the U.S. treating women with LPV have > 11 years of experience, with almost half treating women for > 6 years. Obstetrician/gynecologists are the largest referral source. Three quarters agree on 14 assessment tools, while more than two thirds agree on 11 treatments. Women are treated weekly for 1 hour, for 7-15 weeks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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