What is shockwave therapy?

Shockwave Therapy, also known as LI-ESWT (Low Intensity-Extracorporeal ShockWave Therapy), is a non-invasive, hormone-free treatment method for vulvodynia. The device emits high energy acoustic waves that penetrate the tissues, stimulating blood flow, promoting tissue healing, and reducing nerve hypersensitivity. It works by targeting the underlying causes of certain types of vulvodynia. Shockwave Therapy is currently being used for many different conditions, such as erectile dysfunction, plantar fasciitis and other chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.

What causes vulvodynia?

There are multiple causes of vulvodynia. Most common include:

  • Hormonal changes (menopause, child birth, breast feeding, birth control pill use)
  • Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (high pelvic muscle tone)
  • Increased production of nerve endings in the vestibule (congenital or acquired)
  • Vaginal infections
  • Contact or allergic irritants

Who is a good candidate for Shockwave Therapy?

When a woman is initially diagnosed with vulvodynia, conservative therapies such as topical medications or physical therapy are typically tried first. However, when these treatments prove unsuccessful for the patient, Shockwave Therapy may be recommended as a good option.

Published in ScienceDirect in November 2021, a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study resulted in significant pain reduction among participants who underwent Shockwave Therapy for vulvodynia.  

Is it safe?

While Shockwave Therapy has demonstrated positive outcomes for various conditions, including vulvodynia, it is important to acknowledge that further research is still ongoing to establish its full effectiveness. However, fortunately, Shockwave Therapy does not cause any complications.

How many treatments are required?

Typically, Shockwave Therapy for vulvodynia is administered in a series of treatment sessions. The total number of treatments that we are currently recommending is 4, depending on the individual’s progress and the treatment plan recommended. The sessions are typically scheduled at regular weekly intervals, and take 10-15 minutes each.

How long do the results of treatment last?

There is no good, long-term data yet, but it appears that most treatments last at least 1-2 years.

Do the treatments hurt?

You may feel a tingling or warm sensation during the treatment. In certain cases, especially when treating highly sensitive areas, you may experience some mild discomfort.  However,  the intensity is quite manageable and subsides once the treatment is complete.

Is Shockwave Therapy FDA-approved?

Shockwave Therapy has received FDA approval for certain medical applications. However, Shockwave Therapy has not received specific FDA approval for the treatment of vulvodynia.

What are my next steps?

Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers who specialize in sexual health and vulvar pain management. They can assess your specific condition, discuss your options for treatment, as well as the potential risks and benefits of Shockwave Therapy, and determine the most appropriate treatment approach for you.

Read Vulvodynia Patient Testimonials.