There are few published data about the incidence of diagnoses or treatment outcomes, for chronic vulval pain.
To document diagnoses and treatment outcomes in a cohort of chronic vulval pain presentations.
Materials and methods
A retrospective case review of the patient database of a private vulval clinic between January 2011 and March 2015.
Five hundred and twenty‐five out of 3360 patients (15.6%) met the criterion of vulval pain alone. Mean age was 47.1 years (range 17–86). Average duration of symptoms was 60 months (range 3–432). Overall, 277/525 (52.7%) patients had satisfactory responses to appropriate treatment and 90/525 (17%) had partial improvement. A dermatosis was identified in 322/525 (61.3%) patients and of these, 211/322 (65.5%) had satisfactory responses to appropriate dermatological treatment. In the remaining 203/525 (38.7%) the skin was normal. These patients were questioned around the possibility of a neuromuscular cause for their pain, including pre‐existing dysfunction, trauma or previous operations involving the spine, hips or lower limbs. There were 181/203 (89%) patients considered to have a neuromuscular cause for their pain and considered suitable for physiotherapy and/or neuromodulating medications. Of these patients, 63/182 (34.6%) had satisfactory responses to this treatment. One hundred and sixty‐six out of 525 (31.6%) described vulval pain only during sexual intercourse. There was no statistically significant difference between different diagnoses and responses to treatment between patients reporting dyspareunia only and those sexually active women who did not experience dysparenunia (29/525, 5.5%).
The majority of this cohort with chronic vulval pain had a dermatological disease with a smaller proportion caused by neuromuscular dysfunction. Both groups are potentially treatable.