Current research requiring participants

The studies listed below are actively looking for English-speaking participants from the UK and, in the case of the international studies, other countries as well. For details and updates on studies previously listed in this section which no longer appear here as they are now closed to new participants, please see Older studies.

Important!

Whilst the VPS is keen to encourage women suffering with vulvodynia to actively participate in research whenever possible, we would advise that any such participation is at your own risk. Where the research is of a practical or physical nature such as the trialling of drugs or other physical therapies, we strongly urge you to consult your GP or other medical practitioner before signing up, in order to ensure your own safety and compatibility with your existing treatment plan. With online studies, the VPS cannot take any responsibility for the security of the details you provide in internet surveys, and we recommend you contact the researcher directly if you need more information about arrangements for data protection. Queries or concerns about other aspects of the studies should also be raised directly with the researcher, as they will be best placed to answer them.

Searchable online databases of studies and clinical trials

If none of the studies listed here are suitable or of interest, you may be able to find others by searching the databases contained at NHS Choices Clinical Trials and the UK Clinical Trials Gateway, or alternatively, at the ISRCTN registry. NHS Choices also provides a great deal of very useful information about the research process itself, including safeguards for participants, plus real life stories from people who have participated in research.

*We are grateful to the National Vulvodynia Association for their permission to reproduce these studies from the NVA website.

University of Nottingham (Nottingham, England, UK)

Subject: Creating guidelines for practitioners on communication regarding the management of the psychological and interpersonal impact of vulvodynia: a Delphi study

Contact: Zoe Hamilton, Trainee Clinical Psychologist, University of Nottingham. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   Research mobile: 07749 493567

Details and requirements

Do you have a diagnosis of vulvodynia?

OR

Are you a practitioner working with women with vulvodynia, either in the management of the condition or by referring on to specialist services?

Would you be interested in taking part in research supporting practitioners to improve communication around the psychological aspects of this condition?

The aim of this research is to understand the views of women and practitioners in communicating regarding the impact of this condition on wellbeing and relationships, in order to produce a set of guidelines to support practitioners in their communication.

Taking part in the study involves an audio-recorded individual interview, lasting up to 1 hour. The interview will be arranged for a time and place that is convenient for participants and can take place in person, over the phone or via Skype. Travel expenses and postal costs will be offered for any visits incurred as a result of participation. You will then be asked to take part in two separate surveys by e-mail or post at later dates which will support the creation of the guidelines. As a result, your involvement in the study would span approximately nine months, requiring up to 150 minutes of your time.

Those who participate in the research will have the option of a £10 Amazon voucher or an equivalent donation to the National Vulvodynia Association, or an alternative vulvodynia charity of their choice.

(Correct as at 23 September 2019)

King's College London (London, UK)

Subject: An exploration of the physical and psychological experiences and sexual function of women living with vulvodynia

Website: To access further information and participate in this study, please visit https://kcliop.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_4G9PvagvA5XWa7X.

Contact: Claudia Chisari, PhD researcher in Health Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London. Tel 020 7188 0188 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Details and requirements: Vulvodynia can have a big impact on a person’s life. It can affect the way women think and feel and the activities they do. The purpose of this study is to explore the psychological experience, pain experience and sexual function of women with vulvodynia.

In order to participate in this study you will need to have a diagnosis of vulvodynia by a health professional, be 18 years or older and not be currently pregnant.

If you take part in the study, you will be asked to complete a series of online self-report questionnaires exploring your psychological experience, your pain and sexual experience of living with vulvodynia. Participation will take place online and will take approximately 35 minutes. You will then be required to complete these same questionnaires at an additional time-point (after 3 months of study entry).

We do not anticipate there being any foreseeable risks of participating in this research. There are no direct benefits to taking part in the research, but we hope that it will allow us to form a better understanding of the impacts vulvodynia has on women living with this condition.

Data will be processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR). All information from this study will be kept confidentially. Data will be pseudo-anonymized as an additional level of confidentiality and to allow us to recontact you for your 3 months follow-up. Your responses will remain anonymous. Data will be stored in secure online storage repositories.

This is a PhD Health Psychology research project at King's College London, which is being overseen by King’s College London and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre.

(Correct as at 11 November 2019)

University of the West of England (Bristol, England, UK)

Subject: Men's experience of their partner's pain during sexual intercourse

Contact: Debbie Lovell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Details and requirements: Pain during sexual intercourse has only received research attention in the last two decades. Within heterosexual relationships, most of this research has focused on women. Whilst understanding women's experiences is hugely important, sex is an interpersonal experience and much less is known about the experience of women's partners. The aims of this study therefore are to better understand a) how men make sense of and respond to their partner's sexual pain, and b) how men view possible difficulties with sexual intercourse influencing their sexual relationship, their relationship in general and themselves individually.

Participation in this study involves responding to an anonymous online survey. In order to capture the unique and varied experiences that men may have, questions are answered in respondents' own words rather than selecting from a fixed choice of answers. The survey takes about 30 minutes to complete depending on how much is written, and confidentiality of all data will be rigorously maintained. At the end of the survey, participants will be invited to request more information about a potential follow up interview, in order to talk more about their responses. In order to participate in the study, men must be over the age of 18, resident in the UK and have been in a relationship with a woman suffering from pain during sexual intercourse (or pain that prevented intercourse). The relationship can be current or in the past. The pain must have been present for 6 months or more.

The research will be used to better inform therapeutic practice for both individuals and the couple and enhance support for anyone seeking help.

Website: The survey can be directly accessed through the following links:

https://tinyurl.com/mensexperiencesofsexualpain

or

https://uwe.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_7R4WqXlJcWtGXRP

Alternatively, you can use a smartphone to scan the QR code below.

QR code for partners study survey website

(Correct as at 3 July 2019)

London Metropolitan University (London, UK)

Subject: Do women with pelvic pain have lower self-esteem than women with other chronic pain conditions?

Contact: Sarah Regan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at London Metropolitan University, 166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DB.

Details and requirements: The study is a Psychology of Mental Health postgraduate research project on the psychological impact of pelvic pain, focusing on self-esteem as well as mental health aspects such as depression and anxiety. The aim of the work will be to find out how pelvic pain affects the self and how it relates to sexual distress.

The study takes the form of an anonymous online survey which should take around 15 minutes to complete.  Confidentiality will be protected at all times and all information provided to the researcher will be stored securely. Study responses will only be used in the completion of the study and will not be shared to any third parties.

To participate in the study, you need to suffer from a pelvic pain condition such as vulvodynia, vestibulodynia, interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, fibroids or other pelvic condition.

Website: The online survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/5CLRYTH.

(Correct as at 3 July 2017)

Université de Montréal (Montréal, Québec, Canada)

Subject: A comparison of cognitive-behavioural couple therapy and lidocaine in the treatment of provoked vestibulodynia: a randomized clinical trial*

Contact: Mylène Desrosiers, Research Coordinator, tel (+1) 514-613-6111 ext 47688, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Requirements: The Women’s Sexual Health Laboratory (Université de Montréal) and Couple & Sexual Health Laboratory (Dalhousie University) are currently recruiting couples in which the woman experiences pain during sexual intercourse for a treatment study. The purpose of this randomized clinical trial is to evaluate the efficacy of a recently-developed, 12-week couples therapy (Cognitive-Behavioral Couple Therapy) for women suffering from vulvodynia and one of the most commonly prescribed front-line medical interventions, (i.e. topical lidocaine). As participants in this research project, women suffering from pain during sexual intercourse will take part in a diagnostic gynecological examination, and couples will take part in structured interviews and complete questionnaires. Eligible couples that agree to participate will be randomly assigned to one of the two treatment options, and will be asked to complete self-report questionnaires and structured interviews following completion of the treatment, as well as 6 months after treatment completion. This project is approved by the Research Ethics Committee of CHUM and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the Université de Montréal and the IWK Health Centre Research Ethics Board, and is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

(Correct as at 22 February 2015)

Université de Montréal (Montréal, Québec, Canada)

Subject: Interpersonal goals in women with vulvodynia and their partners: a daily experience study*

Contact: Mylène Desrosiers, Research Coordinator, tel (+1) 514-343-6111 ext 47688, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Requirements: The Women’s Sexual Health Laboratory (Université de Montréal) and the Couple & Sexual Health Laboratory (Dalhousie University) are currently recruiting couples in which the woman suffers from vulvovaginal pain. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the impact of interpersonal sexual goals between both partners on women’s pain, as well as the impact upon the psychological and sexual adjustment of each member in the couple. As participants in this research project, women suffering from pain during sexual intercourse will take part in a diagnostic gynecological examination, and couples will take part in structured interviews and complete questionnaires. Eligible couples that agree to participate shall complete daily journals on the Internet for a period of two months. Financial compensation is provided. This project is approved by the Research Ethics Committee of CHUM and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the Université de Montréal and the IWK Health Centre Research Ethics Board, and is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

(Correct as at 22 February 2015)