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J Sex Med. 2016 Jun;13(6):963-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.04.066.

Differences in Pelvic Morphology Between Women With and Without Provoked Vestibulodynia.

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University of Ottawa, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Ottawa, Canada; Queen's University, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Kingston, Canada. Electronic address:
Queen's University, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Kingston, Canada.
University of Ottawa, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Ottawa, Canada.
Queen's University, Department of Psychology, Kingston, Canada.



Pelvic morphology has been suggested to reflect increased tone and reduced strength of the pelvic floor muscles (PFMs) in women with provoked vestibulodynia (PVD) compared to healthy controls. We aimed to determine whether there are differences in pelvic morphology in the resting state, on maximum voluntary contraction (MVC), or on maximum effort Valsalva maneuver (MVM) between women with and without PVD.


While imaged using ultrasound, 38 women with PVD and 39 controls relaxed their PFMs, performed 3 MVCs and performed 3 MVMs. Levator plate length (LPL), levator plate angle (LPA), and anorectal angle (ARA) were determined at rest, at MVC and at MVM. The displacement of the bladder neck (BN) on MVC and on MVM was also determined. Two-way ANCOVAs were used to evaluate the main effects of group and task, the interaction between group and task, and the effect of resting morphology on LPL, LPA, and ARA. A 2-way repeated-measures ANOVA was used to determine whether the groups differed in terms of BN displacement during the tasks.


Women with PVD had smaller LPLs and LPAs than controls across all tasks. The significant group differences in LPL and LPA at MVC and MVM were no longer significant once the resting values were included as covariates in the models. Bladder neck displacement differed between the groups at MVM but not at MVC.


Women with PVD display shorter LPL sand smaller LPAs than controls but their behavior does not differ when MVC and MVMs are performed. Our results do not support the hypothesis that women with PVD demonstrate abnormalities in PFM contractility on MVC or compliance on MVM.


Dyspareunia; Pelvic Floor Muscles; Provoked Vestibulodynia; Ultrasound

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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