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Vulvodynia: A Chronic Pain Condition—Setting a Research Agenda

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July 11-12, 2011


Reproductive Sciences Branch, Center for Population Research, NICHD; Program in Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology (PRAE), Division of Intramural Research (DIR), NICHD; Office of Research on Women’s Health, NIH


Bolger Center, Potomac, Maryland


Vulvodynia, an elusive gynecological condition, remains a poorly understood chronic pelvic pain syndrome and represents a complex, multifactorial clinical syndrome of unexplained vulvar pain and sexual dysfunction. Symptoms are sometimes associated with the urinary and gastrointestinal tracts, and recent studies suggest that vulvodynia may co-exist with other pain syndromes, such as fibromyalgia and chronic pelvic pain. Increased knowledge about vulvodynia and the biological processes that lead to its development and long-term sequelae could facilitate understanding of other overlapping pain conditions.

This conference brings together investigators working in basic science, epidemiology, and behavioral, translational, and clinical research to foster an exchange of scientific information and gather insight about the best approaches for stimulating research in the most promising areas associated with vulvodynia and related pain syndromes. The meeting will focus on innovative research that continues to build and enhance understanding of the etiology, pathophysiologic mechanisms, and basic underpinnings of vulvodynia.

Major objectives of the meeting are to:

  • Stimulate innovative avenues of investigations that will enhance understanding of the incidence, prevalence, and correlates of vulvodynia within and across all populations of women.
  • Encourage investigators working in the general area of chronic pain or other chronic pain conditions to focus on vulvodynia, and foster ongoing communication and collaboration among investigators as a means to move the science from the laboratory into clinical practice.

The NICHD views this meeting as an important step in expanding research on vulvodynia to strengthen the science base on vulvodynia, understand the impact of the condition across the reproductive lifespan, develop preventive strategies, and provide clues to more definitive medical management.

Attendance at this meeting is by invitation only.


Dr. Alan Decherney, PRAE, DIR, NICHD
Tel: (301) 496-5800

Last Reviewed: 11/30/2012
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