Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation to treat vestibulodynia: a randomised controlled trial

F Murina, V Bianco, G Radici, R Felice, M Di Martino, U Nicolini
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2008, 115 (9): 1165-70

OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) in the treatment of vestibulodynia.

DESIGN: Double-arm randomised placebo-controlled trial.

SETTING: An outpatient department for vulval disease.

POPULATION: Forty women with vestibulodynia, a vestibular discomfort mostly reported as a burning pain, occurring in the absence of relevant visible findings or a specific, clinically identifiable, neurological disorder.

METHODS: Twice a week active TENS or sham treatment were delivered through a vaginal probe via a calibrated dual channel YSY-EST device. Women of both groups underwent 20 treatment sessions.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Visual analogue scale (VAS), the short form of the McGill-Melzack Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ), the Marinoff Scale for dyspareunia and the Female Sexual Function Index questionnaire (FSFI) were assessed at baseline, at the end of treatment and at follow up 3 months after the end of treatment.

RESULTS: The VAS and SF-MPQ scores (6.2 +/- 1.9 and 19.5 +/- 11.9 before treatment, respectively) improved significantly in the active TENS group (2.1 +/- 2.7, P= 0.004 and 8.5 +/- 10.7, P= 0.001, respectively), but not in the placebo group. The Marinoff dyspareunia scale and the FSFI also showed a significant improvement.

CONCLUSIONS: TENS is a simple, effective and safe short-term (3 months) treatment for the management of vestibulodynia.

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