Acupuncture Augmentation of Lidocaine for Provoked, Localized Vulvodynia: A Feasibility and Acceptability Study

Lee E. Hullender Rubin, Scott D. Mist, Rosa N. Schnyer, Maria T. Chao, Catherine M. Leclair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective The aim of the study was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of acupuncture's augmentation of lidocaine therapy in the treatment of provoked localized vulvodynia (PLV). Materials and Methods For 12 weeks, women with moderate to severe PLV were randomized to either 18 sessions of traditional acupuncture (TA) or non-TA (NTA). All participants applied lidocaine 5% cream 4 times daily to the vestibule. Feasibility was assessed by recruitment, enrollment, assessment completion, and blinding. Acceptability was assessed by study visit attendance and satisfaction. The primary outcome was change in tampon test scores from baseline to week 12 and follow-up at week 24. Results Nineteen women enrolled and 14 completed the study. Five withdrew because of lidocaine reaction (n = 2), inability to insert tampon (n = 1), starting a new medication (n = 1), or change in vulvar diagnosis (n = 1). Participants in both groups reported pain reduction for 12 weeks. There was no statistically significant difference between groups. Women in the TA group (n = 7) experienced less pain from baseline to 12 weeks (mean difference [MD] = 42.4 ± 19.4 and MD = 35.7 ± 17.8 at week 24). In the non-TA group (n = 7), women experienced a within-group MD of 28.7 ± 28.5 at 12 weeks and an MD of 36.7 ± 17.7. Conclusions In this early-phase research, acupuncture augmentation of lidocaine was acceptable. The study procedures, with modifications, may be feasible for future investigation. Both acupuncture techniques showed a favorable effect; however, the contribution to pain relief is undetermined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-286
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of lower genital tract disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • acupuncture
  • dyspareunia
  • electroacupuncture
  • tampon test
  • vulvodynia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Acupuncture Augmentation of Lidocaine for Provoked, Localized Vulvodynia: A Feasibility and Acceptability Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this