Effective treatments for female sexual pain

Posted 9 Feb 2022

Associate Professor Christine Barry has received a Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant to address a painful condition that affects millions of women and girls worldwide.

Vulvodynia is a common cause of sexual dysfunction and results in intense pain at the vaginal entrance in response to even light touch. It can have severe effects on an individual’s psychological  and sexual health, relationships and fertility.

The cause of vulvodynia isn’t known, and current treatments have limited benefits.

A/Prof Barry and her team have developed a model of vulvodynia to help understand the cause of the chronic condition and identify more effective treatments.

“Our international partners recently discovered that vaginal fluid from women with vulvodynia contains molecules linked to pain signalling. Our project aims to identify these molecules in our model,” A/Prof Barry said.

“These molecules provide insights into the cause of vulvodynia and how pain sensitivity is regulated. They can also serve as biomarkers for the severity of disease.

“These advances are necessary to help identify what specific treatments will be most effective, and also enable us to measure how effective different treatments are.”

Research category: Biomedical

Project title: The role of sphingolipids in female sexual pain

Lead researcher: A/Prof Christine Barry


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