Symptoms

Currently, vulvodynia is defined as chronic vulvar discomfort characterized by soreness, rawness, burning, stinging, irritation, and/or stabbing pain (3,11,13-15). The definition of "chronic" is not specified, and researchers and clinicians describe a minimum symptomatic period of anywhere from three (2,16-18) to six months (1,19-23). The characteristics of discomfort are vague, in that it may be localized or diffuse, superficial or deep, and constant or provoked (3,13). Activities such as sexual intercourse (11,24), tampon insertion (24,25), exercise, and wearing snug clothing (24) incite and/or exacerbate symptoms. Because of the variation in the clinical presentation of vulvodynia, women may have difficulty describing their symptoms (26), and diagnosis is complicated.

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