Inflammatory Mechanisms in Vestibulodynia

Countless women who suffer from vulvodynia hope that research will result in new cutting-edge treatments that will give them complete pain relief. – And this is why the London Vulva Pain Clinic & its team of world-class highly experienced, Vulva Pain Specialists, is always abreast of the latest state-of-the-art research. Moreover, they lead the way in the latest vulvodynia & vestibulodynia treatments & therapies

So What Are the Mechanisms Behind Vestibulodynia?

Firstly, it is important to clarify the difference between vulvodynia and vestibulodynia. The latter is a subset of vulvodynia, as it: relates to pain in a specific anatomic vulvar region, yet excludes pain symptoms in the areas of the vulva which are anatomically outside the vestibule itself.

Inflammatory Cells

Recent research has determined that: “typical inflammatory cells, e.g., macrophages, are present in roughly equivalent numbers in both women with vestibulodynia & controls, but that other inflammatory cells, such as B lymphocytes, are elevated only in women with vestibulodynia. Additionally, both the composition & arrangement of certain immune cells are different in women with vestibulodynia” [1]. (These findings are backed up by other studies).

At the present time, there are only several research groups around the world, which are involved in investigating the role that inflammation plays in vestibulodynia. That said, there is increasing evidence to suggest that inflammation is a definate player in the development of vulvar pain, even though the general school of thought is that this may not be the sole cause.

Increased Nerve Density

Vestibulodynia could be brought about by increased nerve density (hyperinnervation), in the vestibule. However, as this condition generates a persistent itch, as opposed to pain sensations, its role is less clear. Yet while elevated nerve density can also rev up the generation of proinflammatory mediators, at the same time, nerve fibers often participate in the inflammatory response. – They do this by expressing receptors which recognise. (Note: Pro-inflammatory mediators are the biological and chemical molecules which initiate and regulate inflammatory reactions. They are secreted when the body experiences inflammation).

And while inflammation seems to: “be an important contributor to vestibular pain, we don’t know why or how inflammatory signals are elevated in women with vestibulodynia. The majority of these patients have experienced a period of pain-free intercourse before developing pain, & numerous potential causes have been proposed, including genetic factors, trauma during childbirth, & vaginal infection”

Getting an Accurate Diagnosis

Booking an online or in-person appointment with a London Vulva Clinic Pain Specialist, is the first point of call. Your Vulva Doctor will review your medical history, ask you various pertinent questions about your symptoms, and how long you have been suffering; and then, if necessary, ask you to attend the Vulva Pain Clinic, for various tests and a scan. After your diagnosis, you will be given a holistic Personalised Treatment Plan.


[1]. National Vulvodynia Association (2018). “Article on Inflammatory Mechanisms in Vulvodynia.”