Women with vulvodynia

Event start date
Event start time

Arvo building, auditorium F115, address: Arvo Ylpön katu 34

Minna Törnävä

Doctoral defence of M.Sc. (Health Care) Minna Törnävä

Women with vulvodynia : An education intervention study regarding awareness, knowledge and care among healthcare professionals

The field of science of the dissertation is Nursing Sciences.

The opponent is docent Päivi Kankkunen (University of Eastern Finland). Professor Tarja Suominen acts as the custos.

The language of the dissertation defence is Finnish.

Continuing education towards higher quality care of women with vulvodynia and their partners

If a woman experiences vulvar pain for more than three months with no clear aetiology, it is usually referred to as vulvodynia. This syndrome may cause both physical and psychosexual functional disorders, which can negatively affect a couple’s relationship. Most patients are of fertile age, and vulvodynia may cause childlessness due to intercourse difficulties. Early intervention in symptoms of vulvodynia increases the sexual and reproductive health of a woman and her partner and saves time and money for the patient and society.

The purposes of this study were to describe women’s experiences with vulvodynia and its care as well as describe changes in both the awareness and knowledge of student healthcare staff regarding vulvodynia and its care after an education intervention via an instrument that was developed for this research. This study aimed to produce evidence-based information that can be utilized in healthcare encounters with women with vulvodynia and their partners to implement appropriate care.

This study utilized a mixed-methods research strategy that included two phases. In phase one, the data consisted of experience reports of women with vulvodynia (n = 33). The survey instrument was developed based on women’s experiences and evidence-based literature for data collection. In phase two, the data were collected from student healthcare professionals (N = 191) in 12 student healthcare units in Finland both before (n = 79) and after (n = 30) education intervention. The education programme of this study was created based on a multi-professional team (N=9) of vulvodynia specialists theme interview and previous studies.

The studied women with vulvodynia reported both negative and positive care experiences. They noted that, in the past, healthcare professionals had often demonstrated a lack of awareness and knowledge about both the syndrome and its care. Because vulvodynia often affects a couple’s relationship, especially their sex life, information and support from healthcare professionals are critical aspects of treatment. Before education intervention, student healthcare staff had irregular awareness and knowledge of vulvodynia and its care. After the education intervention, the primary results indicated that participants’ awareness and knowledge of vulvodynia and its care statistically significant improved. In addition, participants’ satisfaction level with the education programme were estimated to be good.

The early intervention of symptoms of vulvodynia in primary healthcare is important. Healthcare providers should place a greater emphasis on information and support in the care of women with vulvodynia and their partners. Web-based education can produce comparable education programmes for organizations that are geographically distant from each other, such as units for student healthcare providers, to raise awareness and knowledge of vulvodynia and its care.

The dissertation is published in the publication series of Acta Universitatis Tamperensis; 2309, Tampere University Press, Tampere 2017. The dissertation is also published in the e-series Acta Electronica Universitatis Tamperensis; 1813, Tampere University Press 2017.

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