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Electrical stimulation may ease vaginal pain

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS is a safe and effective treatment for a type of vaginal pain called vestibulodynia.

Electrical stimulation may ease vaginal pain

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS is a safe and effective treatment for a type of vaginal pain called vestibulodynia. Vestibulodynia is the burning pain that occurs in the vulva, one of the most sensitive parts of the body, located at the opening of the vagina. Intercourse, tampon insertion, and wearing tight clothing may cause the pain. Although many women experience vestibulodynia, the cause is not fully understood. TENS has been used to treat a number of chronic pains and involves nerve stimulation through the skin with mild levels of electricity. To test whether or not TENS can cure vestibulodynia, Italian researchers randomly assigned 40 women with vestibulodynia to undergo real or sham TENS treatments delivered with a vaginal probe twice weekly for a total of 20 sessions. Pain levels were assessed before and immediately after treatment and at 3 months. The researchers used standard pain scales and questionnaires and found that the TENS group experienced significant improvements in pain, whereas the sham group did not. Pain during intercourse and sexual function also improved with TENS. The above findings show that TENS is a simple, effective and safe short-term treatment for the management of vestibulodynia. However, it is probably not a one-time cure for vestibulodynia and the effect of TENS may decline with time.
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
August 2008
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