Vulvar Vestibulitis Syndrome (VVS), vestibulodynia, or simply vulvar vestibulitis is vulvodynia localized to the vulvar region. It tends to be associated with a highly localized "burning" or "cutting" type of pain. The pain of vulvodynia may extend into the clitoris; this is referred to as clitorodynia.
Possible causes include: genetic predisposition to inflammation, allergy or other sensitivity (for example: oxalates in the urine), an autoimmune disorder similar to lupus erythematosus or to eczema or to lichen sclerosus, infection (e.g., yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, HPV), injury, and neuropathy--including an increased number of nerve endings in the vaginal area. Some cases seem to be negative outcomes of genital surgery, such as a labiectomy.
Vulvodynia can be confused with other vulvo-vaginal problems such as chronic tension or spasm of the muscles of the vulvar area called vaginismus. This is particularly difficult to distinguish as muscular spasms can cause pain and pain can cause muscular spasms.
Treatment and Disease Management
There is no uniform treatment approach for vulvodynia or vulvar vestibulitis. Women have shown improved symptoms from a variety of treatments. Some find 100% relief from particular treatments, while others may experience only temporary or partial relief. Responses to the various and many treatments being tried are highly variable, with many patients often trying several treatments over the course of their diagnosis depending upon their levels of relief, the preferred method(s) of their doctor(s), and the affordability of these treatments.