Vulvar Vestibulitis Syndrome (VVS)
Vulvar vestibulitis is a common form of vulvodynia that has been described as one of the most common causes of genital and sexual pain in women, affecting upwards of 15% [Gardella, 2006]. VVS is specific to pain on touch and/or pressure only in the vestibule. The vulvar vestibule is the area within the inner lips surrounding the vaginal opening. VVS is typically diagnosed using Friedrich's Criteria [Friedrich, 1987] which is:
- Severe pain in the vulvar vestibule upon touch or attempted vaginal entry
- Tenderness to pressure localized within the vulvar vestibule
- Vulvar erythema (inflammation) of various degrees
For diagnosis, a cotton-swab is typically used to place gentle pressure in the vestibule. If VVS is present, the cotton-swab test will often elicit severe pain or discomfort from the woman.
Like other pain causing conditions, any form of VVS may cause or contribute to problems with vaginismus and/or may coexist with vaginismus on an ongoing basis. As a result, women may need to address both conditions before they are able to fully restore fully pain-free intercourse.
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