Vulvodynia is a pain syndrome affecting the vulva. It occurs in about 16% of women at some time of their lives. The etiology of vulvodynia is still enigmatic and is probably multifactorial—including physiological concerns (eg, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, neuropathic pain, and psychosocial) and sexual issues (eg, anxiety and sexual dysfunction). Although it is a common syndrome, most patients are neither correctly diagnosed nor treated. A diagnosis of vulvodynia is based upon patient history and lack of physical findings upon careful examination. No clinical or histological findings are present to aid in diagnosis. Most treatment options for vulvodynia are neither well studied nor have an evidence base, relying instead upon expert opinion, care provider experience, and use of data from other pain syndromes. However, many patients show marked improvement after physical therapy for the pelvic floor, medications for neuropathic pain, and psychosexual therapy.
Semin Cutan Med Surg 34:192-198 © 2015 Frontline Medical Communications
In recent years, there have been many changes in the classification scheme for squamous lesions of the vulva; this is primarily due to the assimilation of new scientific information into the diagnostic terminology. For example, over the past 75 years we have realized that precancerous and cancerous lesions of the vulva may be induced by a variety of preconditions, which are typically divided into human papillomavirus (HPV) and non-HPV precursor lesions. The latter include several dermatoses, especially lichen sclerosus and lichen planus. Additionally, we have learned that HPV on extramucosal and nongenital sites does not have the same malignant potential as on mucosal or genital sites. Because of the frequent changes in nomenclature due to these discoveries, both old and new terms continue to be used in clinical practice; a summary of these terms is provided to help prevent a misunderstanding of their scope and significance. Important points for clinicians and pathologists who are involved in the care of these patients are provided.
Semin Cutan Med Surg 34:199-205 © 2015 Frontline Medical Communications