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J R Soc Med. 1999 November; 92(11): 579–581.
PMCID: PMC1297434

Acupuncture for vulvodynia.


Vulvodynia is the sensation of burning and/or pain of the vulva in the absence of abnormal clinical findings. We offered acupuncture to twelve patients with this syndrome. All had experienced severe distress and impairment of sexual function and usual treatments had failed. The patients attended weekly for acupuncture and progress was monitored at each visit by enquiry, a questionnaire and a visual analogue scale for pain. Half had treatment for the first five weeks only, the other half for the second five weeks only. Side-effects were negligible. Two patients felt so much improved that they declared themselves 'cured'; three believed their symptoms had improved and wished to continue acupuncture; four felt slightly better and judged acupuncture more effective than any other treatment; and three noted no effect at all. Acupuncture is time-consuming and a large part of its beneficial effect in this study may have come from the regular specialist contact. However, in view of the patients' lack of response to other measures their satisfaction with the acupuncture was surprisingly high.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • McKay M. Vulvodynia versus pruritus vulvae. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 1985 Mar;28(1):123–133. [PubMed]
  • McKay M. Dysesthetic ("essential") vulvodynia. Treatment with amitriptyline. J Reprod Med. 1993 Jan;38(1):9–13. [PubMed]
  • Jadresic D, Barton S, Neill S, Staughton R, Marwood R. Psychiatric morbidity in women attending a clinic for vulval problems--is there a higher rate in vulvodynia? Int J STD AIDS. 1993 Jul-Aug;4(4):237–239. [PubMed]
  • Faden AI, Jacobs TP, Mougey E, Holaday JW. Endorphins in experimental spinal injury: therapeutic effect of naloxone. Ann Neurol. 1981 Oct;10(4):326–332. [PubMed]

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