The holistic vulva clinic: An integrative approach to the treatment of genital, sexual and non-sexual pain and the other health problems related to the female gender pp. 217-232
Authors: Søren Ventegodt and Joav Merrick
Abstract: The many different health issues related to the vulva takes an interdisciplinary and holistic approach as medical, psychological, sexological and existential aspects are intimately interwoven. Often vulval problems are chronic and the patients have them for many years. In this paper we suggest holistic sexology to be an important intervention for a long series of vulval health problems. We argue that the vulva carries immense symbolic meaning making it a focus point in the body of the most difficult feelings and emotions, making the vulva more exposed to psychosomatic problems that any other organ of the body. We recommend as an important tool what have been called ¨Dclinical medicineˇ¬ - curing the patient through the growth of self-insight coming from the physicians and the patientˇ®s common exploration and investigation into her life, body, gender, sexuality, and feelings associated to her inner and outer genitals. A surprisingly number of different diseases and disorders can be cured in this simple way: Vaginal infections (non-STDs), skin problems such as lichen sclerosus, lichen planus, and lichen simplex chronicus, vulvovaginitis/inflammation/chronic infection/vaginosis of the vulva and vagina, chronic pain, (burning, irritation, pruritus), vulvodynia and pelvic pain syndromes, sterile and non-sterile urinary tract inflammations, PMS, amenorrhea, and sexological dysfunctions including sexual aversion syndrome and psychosexual developmental disturbances, lack of genital self esteem. NNT=2 estimated from the literature. Tools are talk therapy and therapeutic touch including five tools of holistic manual sexology i.e. including the sexological examination. Finally the ethics of the vulva clinic is discussed.