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Vulvodynia: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment 

Appointments: 310-794-7274

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What is vulvodynia?

The external female genital area is called the vulva. Pain that affects this area is called vulvodynia. Vulvodynia is common, chronic vulvar pain without an identifiable cause. 

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What are the symptoms of vulvodynia?

The most commonly reported symptom of vulvodynia is burning, but women’s descriptions of the pain vary and can include burning, stinging, irritation, and rawness, as well as sometimes aching, soreness, throbbing, and swelling. Symptoms of vulvodynia may be constant or may come and go without warning.

How is vulvodynia diagnosed? 

If you have vulvar pain, we will first try to rule out the most common causes of your pain by asking questions about your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor might also perform a pelvic exam and a cotton swab test. The goal is to understand the location, nature and severity of your symptoms.

How is vulvodynia treated? 

At UCLA our treatment options focus on relieving your vulvodynia symptoms as quickly as possible. There are several treatment options including, medications, biofeedback therapy, local anesthetics, nerve block injections, pelvic floor therapy and surgery. Various clinical trials involving novel mechanisms of treatment are also available. There is no one particular treatment that works for every woman. For many, a combination of treatments works best. It is important to know that it can take time to find the right treatment and for any relief to be noticed.


Dr. Andrea Rapkin, Director of the UCLA Pelvic Pain Clinical and Research Program in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCLA, and her team are dedicated to providing patients with individualized care. So, depending on your symptoms, our expert team may use a multi-disciplinary approach and a combination of treatments in caring for you and your condition.

For an appointment at UCLA Obstetrics and Gynecology, please call 310-794-7274.