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Author: Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, 2003. Updated by Hon A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, September 2015.
Generalised vulvodynia is one of the most common types of vulvodynia or vulval pain of unknown cause. In men, a similar disorder is known as male genital dysaesthesia. It was previously known as dysaesthetic vulvodynia and is a form of cutaneous dysaesthesia.
Vulvodynia is defined by the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Diseases (ISSVD) as vulvar pain of at least 3 months duration, without a clearly identifiable cause.
Generalised vulvodynia describes widespread pain throughout the vulvar region where there is no physical explanation for it. Pain may be present in the labia, clitoris, vestibule, perineum, mon pubis, and inner thighs. Pain may be constant or unprovoked by touch or pressure to the vulva. Activities such as intercourse, bicycle riding, and horse riding may make symptoms worse.
Patients with generalised vulvodynia may describe intermittent or continuous symptoms, including:
By definition, the cause of generalised vulvodynia is unknown. Current theories consider generalised vulvodynia is a chronic pain syndrome related to hypersensitive nerves. One or more of the following may have a role to play in the development of this condition.
Women who suffer from generalised vulvodynia require a range of treatments to help overcome their cycle of endless pain. A combination of therapies should be used and may include:
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