Vulvodynia is a common problem among women, and the pain associated with this disorder can cause not only great physical anguish but also emotional distress. In the absence of effective treatments that can be applied widely, it is important that researchers gain a greater understanding of the disease's causes, develop better treatments, and, if possible, learn how to prevent vulvodynia altogether.
The NICHD conducts and supports research in a variety of areas related to vulvodynia, from basic science to clinical research.
The Research Plan on Vulvodynia (PDF - 681 KB), developed by the NICHD in collaboration with other federal, private, and nonprofit agencies and researchers in the field, lays out an agenda for the rigorous scientific research needed to answer questions and fill in knowledge gaps about vulvodynia. The agenda builds on ongoing vulvodynia research and seeks to advance the field by enhancing capacity for conducting research related to vulvodynia. In addition, the plan aims to apprise the research community of scientific goals for vulvodynia research and to foster collaborations among agencies and organizations interested in the topic.
The Gynecologic Health and Disease Branch (GHDB) and the Fertility and Infertility (FI) Branch lead the Institute's research initiatives relative to vulvodynia. Research currently supported by these Branches includes the following initiatives:
The NICHD's Division of Intramural Research also contributes to vulvodynia research through research conducted through several units in the Program in Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology. These include studies on the underlying physiology, diagnosis, and treatment of reproductive disorders.
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