Vulvodynia affects 7% of American women, yet clinicians often lack awareness of its presentation. It is underdiagnosed and often misdiagnosed as vaginitis. The etiology of vulvodynia remains unknown, making it difficult to identify or develop effective treatment methods. The purpose of this article is to (1) review the presentation and evaluation of vulvodynia, (2) review the research on vulvodynia treatments, and (3) aid the clinician in the selection of vulvodynia treatment methods. The level of evidence to support vulvodynia treatment varies from case series to randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Oral desipramine with 5% lidocaine cream, intravaginal diazepam tablets with intravaginal transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS), botulinum toxin type A 50 units, enoxaparin sodium subcutaneous injections, intravaginal TENS (as a single therapy), multimodal physical therapy, overnight 5% lidocaine ointment, and acupuncture had the highest level of evidence with at least one RCT or comparative effectiveness trial. Pre to posttest reduction in vulvar pain and/or dyspareunia in non-RCT studies included studies of gabapentin cream, amitriptyline cream, amitriptyline with baclofen cream, up to 6 weeks’ oral itraconazole therapy, multimodal physical therapy, vaginal dilators, electromyography biofeedback, hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, cold knife vestibulectomy, and laser therapy. There is a lack of rigorous RCTs with large sample sizes for the treatment of vulvodynia, rendering it difficult to determine efficacy of most treatment methods. Clinicians will be guided in the selection of best treatments for vulvodynia that have the highest level of evidence and are least invasive.
1. Identify evidence informed components of perinatal care innovations that may improve access and outcomes of care to persons from marginalized populations.
2. Implement strategies to improve transfer from community to hospital settings for labor and birth.
3. Identify benefits for midwives in obtaining a waiver to prescribe medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD).
4. Describe innovations that promote perinatal interprofessional care.
5. Describe innovative models aimed to improve care perinatal and newborn access to care and care outcomes.
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ARTICLE - Evaluation and Treatment of Vulvodynia: State of the Science