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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2008;87(9):893-901. doi: 10.1080/00016340802323321.

Vulvodynia. Definition, diagnosis and treatment.

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Sexological Clinic, Psychiatric Centre, Rigshospitalet University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Vulvodynia is a chronic painful disorder with an estimated prevalence of 9-12%. A rising incidence of the condition constitutes a growing problem. This has lead to an increased focus on etiology and treatment, while the definition also requires attention. Previous assumptions stating that the problem is solely a psychological disorder have been abandoned, because inflammatory mechanisms and genetic factors have been found to be involved in the pathogenesis as well as psychosexual contributors. This article describes the terminology and definition of the condition, theories on patho-physiological mechanisms underlying the disorder, methods of diagnosis and evidence and recommendations on clinical management. A critical examination of the literature regarding vulvodynia reveals numerous strategies and recommendations for treatment, many of which are not evidence-based, and a lack of effective treatment for all patients. Research is being undertaken internationally to find more specific and unequivocal causes of the disorder, as well as to develop evidence-based methods of treatment.

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