Long-term results of an individualized, multifaceted, and multidisciplinary therapeutic approach to provoked vestibulodynia

Symen K Spoelstra, Jeroen R Dijkstra, Mels F van Driel, Willibrord C M Weijmar Schultz
Journal of Sexual Medicine 2011, 8 (2): 489-96

INTRODUCTION: Although it is highly recommended to use a multifaceted approach to treat provoked vestibulodynia (PVD), the large majority of treatment studies on PVD used a one-dimensional approach.

AIM: To evaluate the long-term treatment outcome of a multifaceted approach to vulvar pain, sexual functioning, sexually related personal distress, and relational sexual satisfaction in women with PVD.

METHODS: Retrospective questionnaire survey 3-7 years after treatment.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Sexual functioning, sexually related personal distress, and relational sexual satisfaction were measured using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), the Female Sexual Distress Scale (FSDS), and the Dutch Relationship Questionnaire (NRV), respectively. An additional questionnaire assessed socio-demographic variables, intercourse resumption, and the level to which the women would recommend the treatment to other women with PVD. Post-treatment vulvar pain scores were obtained using a visual analog scale (VAS). Pretreatment scores were reported in retrospect on a separate VAS.

RESULTS: The questionnaires were completed by 64 out of 70 women (91%). Mean follow-up was 5 years (range 3-7). Comparison of the mean pretreatment and post-treatment VAS scores showed a significant reduction in vulvar pain. Pain reduction was reported by 52 women (81%), whereas no change and pain increase were reported by 7 women (11%) and 5 women (8%), respectively. Post-treatment, 80% of the women had resumed intercourse. Only 5 women (8%) reported completely pain-free intercourse. Comparisons with age-related FSFI and FSDS Dutch norm data showed that scores for sexual functioning in the study group were significantly lower, while scores for sexually related personal distress were significantly higher. There were no significant differences in relational sexual satisfaction ratings between the study group and the NRV Dutch norm data.

CONCLUSION: These retrospective data on long-term treatment outcome support the hypothesis that a multifaceted approach to PVD can lead to substantial improvements in vulvar pain and the resumption of intercourse.

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