Three medical societies have agreed on revised, evidence-based terminology and classification of persistent vulvar pain. The ISSM recently adopted the resulting document.
The International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH), the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disorders (ISSVD), and the International Pelvic Pain Society (IPPS) accepted the new terminology last summer.
The document updates previous terminology on vulvodynia accepted by the ISSVD in 2003 and takes new research, treatments, and descriptors into account.
One revision involves the title of the terminology itself. The term “vulvar pain” is now used instead of “vulvodynia” because the previous term did not pertain to acute vulvar pain.
The definition of vulvodynia has also changed from 2003. It is now described as “vulvar pain of at least 3 months duration, without clear identifiable cause, which may have potential associated factors.”
The document also includes an appendix of potential associated factors which was not part of the 2003 terminology. This addition addresses the multifactorial nature of vulvar pain.
“The inclusion of the associated factors emphasizes that treatment should be chosen according to characteristics of the individual case and possible associated factors, rather than be uniform (like surgery for all, physical therapy for all, etc.).” the authors wrote.
They added, “The associated factors show that a multidisciplinary approach to vulvar pain is needed and help direct future research.”
The new terminology and definitions are meant to be used across disciplines, in clinical and research contexts. They may also be helpful when determining ICD (International Classification of Diseases) codes for women’s sexual health.
Please click here to see the full PDF document outlining the new terminology and classification.
International Society for Sexual Medicine
“2015 Consensus Terminology and Classification of Persistent Vulvar Pain”
(December 21, 2015)
International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD),
the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH),
and the International Pelvic Pain Society (IPPS)
Bornstein, Jacob, et al.
“2015 Consensus terminology and classification of persistent vulvar pain”