Risk Factors For Relapse & Remission of Vulvodynia

“Remission of vulvodynia symptoms is common with approximately 50% of remitters experiencing a relapse within 6-30 months. Persistence without remission is the exception rather than the rule. Pain history & simultaneous diseases or medical conditions were linked with more severe outcomes of relapse &/or persistency compared with those who just had a remission” [1]

The above research results add to existing studies which show that vulvodynia is heterogeneous, and often occurs in episodically. Note: the term heterogeneous refers to body tissue which looks vastly different from one area of tissue to the next. Differences in size, shape and colour, can make tissue look heterogeneous.

Relapse & Remission

The aforementioned research on relapse and remission of long-term pain in the vulva region (vulvodynia), was based on data from vulvodynia sufferers in the substantial ‘Woman to Woman Health Study,’ which was conducted by the University of Michigan. The scientists determined that around: “50% of the women with vulvodynia eventually went into remission and did not relapse. Another 40% initially experienced remission at some point, but unfortunately relapsed within 6-30 months. Only about 10% of the women had persistent vulvodynia at each screening (i.e., no remissions)” [1].

Of note, the researchers discovered that the main circumstances linked to the women’s relapse involved: first screening interstitial cystitis, or first screening provoked pain. Moreover, the elements that were tied to persistent pain included: pain with partner touch, pain with oral sex, and more serious intercourse-related symptoms [1].

The Importance of Getting Treatment From a Vulvodynia Pain Specialist

As most general doctors (GPs), only have a general knowledge of Vulvodynia, and the available treatments, contacting an experienced Pain Specialist, and having a consultation (whether it is online, or in person), is essential to try to determine the root cause, and then be given a personalised protocol. – This involves a holistic Personalised Treatment Plan which is likely to involve more than one modality.

A Sensitive Approach

Pain Specialists always take a sensitive approach to this condition, and you can feel at ease discussing intimate issues which may have been troubling you for a very long time. Finally, there is now a broad range of treatments and state-of-the-art therapies for vulvodynia, all of which will be explained to you in detail.


[1]. Reed BD, Harlow SD, Plegue MA, Sen A. Remission, Relapse, and Persistence of Vulvodynia: A Longitudinal Population-Based Study. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2016 Mar;25(3):276-83.