A prevalent female sexual pain disorder, vulvodynia causes significant distress due to vulvar pain, decreased intimacy and diminished quality of life. Provoked, localised vulvodynia (PLV) is the most common form of vulvodynia and severely impacts the lives of up to 16 per cent of women. Conventional medical treatment is often multi-modal, but has modest results.
Vestibulectomy - surgical excision of the affected tissue - is currently the most effective therapy to address PLV pain. However, surgery may not be an option due to the associated risks or patient preference, therefore non-pharmacological treatments like acupuncture and its associated modalities may be pursued by patients. Acupuncturists should be educated on the features of PLV, its clinical manifestation and how they might support women suffering with PLV.
The objective of this paper is to describe PLV in both conventional and Chinese medicine terms and provide an overview of acupuncture and adjuvant treatments. A short case study is included to illustrate how the theory works in clinical practice.
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