What Are the Risk Factors For Vuylvodynia?

As a Vulva Pain Specialist will tell you: some of the major risk factors for vulvodynia, include:

•Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and
•A History of Abuse [1].

So now let’s examine each individual aspect:


“Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. However, those with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive & persistent worry and fear, about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety, & fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks)” [2]

Such symptoms could be rooted in childhood or teenage years, and carry on during adulthood. There are various types of anxiety disorders, these include:

• Separation anxiety disorder
• Specific phobias
• Social anxiety disorder (social phobia), and
• Generalized anxiety disorder
• Anxiety brought about from medical treatment [2]

Of note, it is possible to experience more than one of these conditions, simultaneously [2]. When you have an appointment with a Vulvodynia Consultant, they will review your medical history, and ask you whether you experience any anxiety, depression, or PTSD.


Depression (which may also be referred to as clinical depression, or major depressive disorder), is a widespread, yet serious mood disorder. It can generate severe symptoms which impact the way that sufferers think, feel, and conduct their daily activities. The latter incorporate: sleeping, working, and eating [3].

There are various types of depression, and these include: persistent depressive disorder, major depression, seasonal affective disorder, perinatal depression, and depression with symptoms of psychosis [3].

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Also known as PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition, which is generated by a terrifying event—either witnessing it, or personally experiencing it. Common symptoms comprise:

• Having irrepressible thoughts about the event
• Severe anxiety and negativity
• Nightmares, and
• Flashbacks [4].

A History of Abuse

“Among women with a history of severe childhood abuse, those with vulvodynia, had 3 times the odds of living in fear of any abuse, compared to women without vulvodynia. Among women with no history of childhood abuse, those with vulvodynia had over 6 times the odds of antecedent mood disorder compared to women without vulvodynia” [5]

As the aforementioned is a particularly sensitive issue, you can request a consultation with an experienced female Vulva Pain Doctor, who will be mindful of the consequences of the trauma that you will have suffered, and put you at ease.


[1]. WebMD (2022). “Vulvodynia.”

[2]. Mayo Clinic (2018). “Anxiety Disorders.”

[3]. National Institute of Mental Health (2022). “Depression.”

[4]. Mayo Clinic (2018). “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

[5]. Khandker, et al. “Is Chronic Stress During Childhood Associated with Adult-Onset Vulvodynia?.Journal of Women’s Health. Aug 2014.649-656.”