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F1000Res. 2016 Oct 26;5:2581. eCollection 2016.

Recent advances in understanding provoked vestibulodynia.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY, USA.


Vulvodynia refers to pain in the vulva of at least 3 months' duration in the absence of a recognized underlying cause. Provoked, localized vestibulodynia is the term used to describe superficial pain confined to the vulvar vestibule, provoked by touch. This review will focus on provoked vestibulodynia with regard to its suggested causative factors and will discuss the role of inflammation, vulvovaginal infections, mucosal nerve fiber proliferation, hormonal associations, central pain mechanisms, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, and genetic factors. Clinical observations, epidemiological studies, and data from basic research emphasize the heterogeneity of vulvar pain syndromes. There is a critical need to perform prospective, longitudinal studies that will allow better diagnostic criteria and subgrouping of patients that would lead to improvements in our understanding of provoked vestibulodynia and its treatment.


Vulvodynia; pain mechanisms; vulvar pain syndromes

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests. No competing interests were disclosed. No competing interests were disclosed. No competing interests were disclosed.

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