How We Evaluate Vulvar Pain

“The exact prevalence of vulval pain in adult women is not known, but a recent population based survey from the US, found that 16% of women had at some time experienced chronic burning, knife-like pain, or pain on contact with the vulva that lasted for at least three months. 7% of women reported current vulval pain or discomfort” [1]. If the latter applies to you, the smart course of action is to book a consultation with a Vulva Pain Specialist a soon as possible. They will give you a correct diagnosis (something which is not always possible with a general practitioner (as they have not undertaken extensive training in this field). After this, they will devise a Holistic Personalised Treatment Program to suit your needs

Vulva Pain

The vulva consists of: the mons pubis, clitoris, labia minora, labia majora, and perineum, all of which come under the umbrella term of the female external genitalia. Vulva pain is classified under two categories:

• Pain secondary to a specific, identifiable, underlying disorder, or
• Idiopathic pain (pain deriving from an unknown cause), with no recognisable underlying disease [1]

Of note: “women use the term ‘pain,’ to include a variety of unpleasant symptoms including burning, soreness, and throbbing, and some women insist that they do not have pain but describe the sensation with one of these words, which can be misleading for clinicians” [1]. However, when you are discussing you symptoms with a Pain Specialist, they will make make it easy for you to describe your symptoms correctly.

A Pain Specialist’s Diagnosis of Women With Vulva Pain

When making a diagnosis of vulva pain, the Vulva Pain Doctor takes into account both the acute and chronic causes of the symptoms.

Acute Vulva Pain

Well known causes of acute vulval pain comprise: infections (such as candidiasis, and
vulvovaginal herpes), which can generate various skin disorders brought about by scratching; and skin diseases (for example, vulval dermatitis (eczema). It is common for skin diseases to trigger acute pain from fissured and chafed skin, and this can become secondarily infected, culminating in an acute attack of symptoms. Further, contact dermatitis can also be the culprit. Moreover, the skin on the vulva is regularly exposed to countless sensitisers and irritants, such as fragranced personal hygiene products, topical drugs, and urine [1].

Chronic Vulval Pain

If left untreated, any of the aforementioned acute presentations can culminate in chronic
pain. And this is just one important reason why you should not delay visiting a Vulva Pain Specialist. Long-term vulva pain is also linked to psoriasis, dermatitis, and other skin diseases, and is frequently associated with vulva itching. Moreover, recurring candidiasis and idiopathic
vulval fissuring, can also cause long-term discomfort [1].


[1]. Nunns, D, & Murphy, R. Assessment and management of vulval pain. March 2012 BMJ Clinical Research 344(mar 28 1):e1723. Pub Med.