Is the 2003 ISSVD terminology and classification of vulvodynia up-to-date? A neurobiological perspective

L. Micheletti, G. Radici, P. J. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This paper aims to determine if the 2003 International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD) terminology and classification of vulval pain is up-to-date, according to a current and widely accepted neurobiological pain classification, which divides pain into nociceptive, inflammatory and pathological pain with the latter subdivided into neuropathic and dysfunctional pain. Nociceptive pain is protective, adaptive, high-threshold pain provoked by noxious stimuli. Inflammatory pain is protective, adaptive, low-threshold pain associated with peripheral tissue damage and inflammation. Pathological pain is non-protective, maladaptive, low-threshold pain caused by structural damage to the nervous system (neuropathic pain) or by its abnormal function (dysfunctional pain).The 2003 ISSVD vulval pain classification should be revised in terms of current neurobiological pain information. Inflammatory vulval pain occurs as a result of specific infectious, inflammatory and neoplastic disorders. Neuropathic vulval pain arises following a specific neurological disorder, responsible for structural damage to the nervous system. Vulvodynia is dysfunctional vulval pain, caused by abnormal function of the nervous system itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)788-792
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 17 2015


  • Classifi cation
  • pain
  • terminology
  • vulvodynia


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