Surgery combined with muscle therapy for dyspareunia from vulvar vestibulitis: An observational study

Martha F. Goetsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To explore the dual importance of treating vestibule allodynia and pelvic floor myalgia in correcting dyspareunia associated with severe vulvar vestibulitis. STUDY DESIGN: In this observational study, 111 women were treated by modified superficial vestibulectomy and were evaluated for referral to physical therapists for pelvic floor myalgia. They were followed with interval repeat examinations. Later cohort assessment was by patient questionnaire surveys. Data from pelvic floor muscle examinations and physical therapy referrals were added by retrospective chart review. Primary outcomes were swab touch sensitivity and dyspareunia. RESULTS: Eighty-five percent of subjects ultimately had nontender vestibule examinations postoperatively. Fewer, numbering 64%, reported resolution of dyspareunia, 24% had less dyspareunia, 9% were no better, and 3% reported they were worse. Fifty percent of those with continued dyspareunia had no remaining vestibulitis, but had tight or tender pelvic muscles. Failure of surgery and physical therapy to correct dyspareunia related significantly to length of symptoms before therapy (p = 0.02). Follow-up averaged 3.7 years, with a range of 0.25-14. CONCLUSION: Superficial surgery can correct vulvar vestibulitis, but without treatment for pelvic floor myalgia, women may continue to have dyspareunia. Physical therapy is an important adjunct to achieve comfort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-603
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine for the Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007


  • Dyspareunia
  • Pelvic floor
  • Vaginismus
  • Vulvar vestibulitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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