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Women Vulvodynia: Symptoms, Causes & Physiotherapy Management for Treatment

When you have any symptoms listed in the article, meet a doctor who will be able to provide you proper treatment and home advices required. 

Vani Malik
Written by: Vani MalikPublished at: May 04, 2022Updated at: May 04, 2022
Women Vulvodynia: Symptoms, Causes & Physiotherapy Management for Treatment

The international study society for vulvar pain defines vulvodynia as chronic pain in the vulvar region for more than 3months without any known reasons. It can be generalized or localized with respect to location. The vulva is the external female genitalia which include the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, clitoral hood, clitoris, and vestibule.

In a candid chat with Onlymyhealth, Dr Karthika Lakshmi, Executive Physiotherapist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bangalore, Bellandur talks in detail about what is vulvodynia and tips to tackle the condition. 

Symptoms Of Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia implies that the pain is idiopathic, rather than pain their major symptoms will be:

  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Irritation
  • Stabbing
  • Rawness


Also Read: Experiencing Irritation In Intimate Areas? Here Are 7 Causes That Can Result To Vulvovaginitis

Vulvodynia is widely divided in to localized involving particular spot in vulva which include clitorodynia, vestibulodynia or it can be generalized pain can’t be specified, it can either be provoked in which symptoms increases with touch or pressure unprovoked in which the pain will be persistent or mixed pain that will be constant and also increases with touch or pressure. 

Causes Of Vulvodynia

There can be several possibilities for chronic pain in vulva or Vulvodynia in women. Listed below are some notable reasons: 

  • Abnormalities of embryological development 
  • Weak pelvic floor muscles
  • Wearing tight clothes
  • Current infection or inflammatory skin condition
  • Hormonal changes caused due to menopause
  • Breastfeeding                                         
  • Vaginal delivery
  • Obesity 
  • Abuse
  • Stress

The posterior introitus and the posterior hymeneal remnants are the most common sites of increased sensitivity. Prevalence it is thought to affect about 15 in 100 women, it affects women of all ages, reproductive stages, and ethnicities. It is not contagious or not related to hygiene or hygiene products. 

Physiotherapy Management for Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia can very well be managed and treated with the help of Physiotherapy. Some types of physiotherapy management techniques that can be used for relief as are follows: 

1) Cool tub/Sitz bath

It refers to immersion of body part into cold water. As cryotherapy is already used for perineal region in previous studies in this study ‘cool tub’ is chosen as management of vulvodynia to reduce spasm and hypersensitivity causing vulvar pain. This cold water sitz bath/ cool tub is commonly used in reducing pain during postpartum period, Bartholdi’s gland cyst hemorrhoids and so on. 

2) Perineal massage

This is also an effective management to relieve spasm and reduce sensitivity with touch and pressure. Self-massage techniques and its uses can be taught to the patient after examination by a physiotherapist. 


3) Mirror therapy

This is a technique certain stretching and exercises are done with the guidance of the mirror. The Physiotherapist will guide you do the exercise in their presence in front of a mirror with the reflected image you will know what exactly to be done. 

Also Read: Vulvar Conditions: What Is Causing That Intractable Itch and How To Get Rid Of It             

Some other tips to follow to get relief from chronic pain in the vulva are as follows:                       

  • Self-stretching exercises for pelvic floor muscle will be taught.
  • Certain lifestyle modification also can help like
  • Avoid tight clothing and pantyhose.
  • Wear all-cotton underwear.
  • Avoid exercises like cycling
  • If sitting for long, sit on foam donuts to avoid putting any pressure on the vulva

(With inputs from Dr Karthika Lakshmi, Executive Physiotherapist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bangalore, Bellandur)