Overnight 5% lidocaine ointment for treatment of vulvar vestibulitis

Denniz A. Zolnoun, Katherine E. Hartmann, John F. Steege

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To assess the effectiveness of nightly application of 5% lidocaine ointment for treatment of vulvar vestibulitis. METHODS: Over 17 months, we assessed women presenting to our pain clinic for evaluation of introital pain; 61 women met the criteria for vulvar vestibulitis and participated in a treatment trial. We measured daily pain and intercourse-related pain using a 100-mm visual analog scale. We compared ability to have intercourse and pain ratings before and after treatment, and investigated whether prior treatment or gynecologic comorbidities predicted response to treatment. RESULTS: After a mean of 7 weeks of nightly treatment, 76% of women reported ability to have intercourse, compared with 36% before treatment (P = .002). Intercourse-related pain score was 39.11 (95% confidence interval [CI] 30.39, 47.83) points lower after treatment (P < .001), with a decrease of 10.37 (95% CI 3.53, 17.21) points in daily pain score (P = .004). We found no association between response to prior episodic use of lidocaine and response to nightly therapy with lidocaine ointment. Few patient characteristics predicted response to treatment; however, women with interstitial cystitis and other vulvar conditions were least likely to benefit. CONCLUSION: Long-term, nightly application of 5% lidocaine ointment shows promise as a treatment for management of vulvar vestibulitis; a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-87
Number of pages4
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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