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Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)

Vulvodynia Information for Consumers

Vulvodynia is chronic (long-term) pain or discomfort of the vulva. The vulva is the area of the female genitals surrounding the vaginal opening.

Women with vulvodynia experience burning, stinging, irritation, rawness, or stabbing pain in their genitals. The pain or discomfort can be chronic, come and go, and involve the entire genital area or specific to one area of the vulva. For many women, vulvodynia symptoms make sexual intercourse, inserting tampons, or wearing certain types of clothing uncomfortable or painful.

Discuss your symptoms with a health care professional. If you have burning, stinging, irritation, rawness, or stabbing pain in the genital area, tell your health care provider. Your health care provider will likely perform a comprehensive examination, including a pelvic exam, and may also ask you questions about your health history to diagnose what is causing your pain and whether or not your symptoms may be caused by vulvodynia.


This page last reviewed on June 8, 2015