Author: Georgine M. Lamvu
Chronic vulvar pain, or vulvodynia, is a prevalent pain disorder that affects nearly 14 million women in the US. Unfortunately a poor understanding of disease pathophysiology leads to less than 2% of women actually being properly diagnosed and treated. Treatment recommendations vary widely and few treatments have been shown to be truly effective. Clinicians and scientists now recognize that our inability to effectively treat this disease is in part due to heterogeneity of patient characteristics. This session will review the epidemiology of vulvodynia and our current understanding of disease physiology. The majority of the lecture will be spent on providing clinicians with an overview of how to incorporate biopsychosocial and physical patient characteristics into the evaluation and treatment of vulvar pain. Data from the National Vulvodynia Registry will be presented. The goal is that by the end of the lecture attendees will be able to: 1) classify vulvodynia patients in terms of factors (other than pain level and location) that may equally impact pain and patient well-being; 2) describe medical and nonmedical therapies available for treatment of vulvodynia; 3) incorporate patient characteristics and knowledge about treatment effects into more individualized and multimodal treatment plans. This lecture will be interactive using case scenarios, survey questions and audience participation.