UCLA researchers are seeking women aged 18 to 55 who have been diagnosed with vulvodynia or vestibulodynia, a chronic pain condition that affects the vaginal area and often occurs without an identifiable cause or visible pathology.

The purpose of the study is to help physicians understand the physiology and genetic makeup of this condition. In turn, this information will help to develop more effective treatments. Researchers will enroll women who have been diagnosed with the condition, or who are experiencing chronic pain (with or without sexual activity) at the opening of the vagina or the surrounding area.

Volunteers in the study will need to visit UCLA twice over one to three weeks, once for a pelvic and neurosensory pain screening and once to undergo an MRI scan. The women must be right-handed and not pregnant. Volunteers can earn up to $130 for participation in the study.

Researchers are hoping to characterize the clinical, physiological, genetic and brain activity changes associated with vulvodynia. They hope to identify the communication between brain networks while a person is at rest and compare the communications patterns with healthy controls and with people who have other chronic pain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

For more information, call (310) 825-5255.

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