Vulvodynia (also called "vestibulodynia") is a chronic pain syndrome categorized in the ICD-9
group 625—specifically ICD-9 625.7, which is for pain and other disorders of the female genital
organs. It refers to pain of the vulva unexplained by vulvar or vaginal infection or skin disease.
The term "vulvodynia" simply refers to "vulvar pain", and does not imply a specific cause.
Pain is the most notable symptom of vulvodynia, and can be characterized as a burning, stinging,
irritation or sharp pain that occurs in the vulva, including the labia and entrance to the vagina.
It may be constant, intermittent or happening only when the vulva is touched, but vulvodynia is usually
defined as lasting for years.
Symptoms may occur in one place or the entire vulvar area. It can occur during or after sexual
activity, when tampons are inserted, or when prolonged pressure is applied to the vulva, such as
during sitting, bike riding, or horseback riding. Some cases of vulvodynia appear random where
no particular cause can be determined.
It may interfere with a woman’s emotional well-being, at times leading to depression.
Possible causes include: genetic predisposition to inflammation, allergy or other sensitivity
(for example: oxalates in the urine), an autoimmune disorder similar to lupus erythematosus or to
eczema or to lichen sclerosus, infection (e.g., yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, HPV), injury,
and neuropathy--including an increased number of nerve endings in the vaginal area. Some cases seem to
be negative outcomes of genital surgery, such as a labiectomy.