Provoked vestibulodynia: Inflammatory, neuropathic or dysfunctional pain? A neurobiological perspective

L. Micheletti, G. Radici, Peter J Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This paper aims to clarify the nature of the pain in provoked vestibulodynia (PV). It reviews published data about the nature of the pain in PV, employing a recent pain classification, which divides pain from a neurobiological perspective, into nociceptive, inflammatory and pathological pain, with the latter subdivided into neuropathic and dysfunctional pain. Nociceptive pain is high-threshold pain provoked by noxious stimuli; inflammatory pain is adaptive, low-threshold pain associated with peripheral tissue inflammation; pathological pain is maladaptive, low-threshold pain caused by structural damage to the nervous system (neuropathic) or by its abnormal function (dysfunctional). Most of the published data show that in PV, there is no active peripheral tissue inflammation. Similarly, no neural damage has been demonstrated. It is reasonable to consider PV as dysfunctional pain induced by exposure to acute physical or psychological precipitating events in the presence of an individual predisposition to produce or maintain abnormal central sensitisation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-288
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Dysfunctional pain
  • Inflammatory pain
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Provoked vestibulodynia
  • Vulvodynia


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