Vulvodynia and the Role of Psychosocial Factors

Research shows that: “A range of general/pain-related distress & avoidance processes, & sex/intimacy avoidance or engagement processes are significantly associated with pain, sexual functioning or sexual distress & sexual satisfaction, supporting the role of a psychosocial approach to Provoked Vestibulodynia (PVD) [1]

Depression, anxiety, catastrophizing, pain-anxiety, pain acceptance, body-exposure anxiety, attention to sexual cues, partner hostility and solicitousness, self-efficacy and penetration cognitions are highlighted as potentially important treatment targets in PVD [1]. And this is why leading Vulvodynia Specialists treat every patient with a holistic approach

Examining the Psychosocial Factors Connected With Vulvodynia

One review puts a spotlight on the psychosocial factors which are linked to the pain and sexual functioning experienced by Vulvodynia sufferers. The results of the review indicate that: “vulvodynia presents both similar and unique cognitive, behavioural and interpersonal features compared to other chronic pain conditions. There may be important roles for negative sexual cues, body image–related factors during intercourse, partner factors, self-efficacy beliefs and penetration cognitions, in relation to pain and sexual functioning” [1].

Moreover, fairly recent research has made further discoveries, in that; “additional psychosocial variables that appear relevant to vulvodynia, include perceived injustice, body-exposure anxiety during intercourse, and unmitigated sexual communion” [2]. Furthermore, the researchers came to the conclusion, that when it comes to vulvodynia: psychological flexibility, depression, pain acceptance, and perceived injustice, appear to be important. In addition to this, as the scientists determined that because distinct factors are extremely prevalent across different vulvodynia subtypes, the type of customised treatment approaches (such as those provided by Vulva Pain Specialists) are suggested [2].

How Can I Get the Most From My Vulvodynia Consultation?

Whether you discuss your vulvodynia symptoms in-person, or during an online consultation, being prepared with all the relevant information is crucial. To that end, it is an excellent idea to compile a ‘Vulvodynia Diary.’ This should be divided into days, and hours (24 hours). You should fill it in whenever you experience: 1. Physical Pain (for instance, throbbing vulva pain after cycling to work), and 2. Psychosocial Issues (for example, feeling very depressed all day, because I could not give my partner want he was expecting, when we had sexual relations that morning).


[1]. Chisari et al. (2020). “Psychosocial factors associated with pain and sexual function in women with Vulvodynia: A systematic review.”

[2]. Chisari C, Begleris I, Monajemi MB, Lewis F, Moss-Morris R, Scott W, McCracken LM. A Network Analysis of Selected Psychosocial Factors in Vulvodynia and Its Subtypes. Pain Med. 2021 Dec 11;22 (12):2863-2875.,intercourse%2C%20and%20unmitigated%20sexual%20communion.