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.


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 Portsmouth (Portsmouth, UK)

Subject: Study to investigate how self-compassion and pain perceptions interact with each other in chronic pain

Contact: Le Nguyen via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Details and requirements: Le Nguyen is a Master’s student in Health Psychology from the University of Portsmouth. Her research project is looking for participants for a study investigating how self-compassion and pain perceptions interact with each other in chronic pain.

Moreover, the study wants to explore how emotional distress regulates these interactions.

The study is looking for volunteers who are aged 18 or over and have chronic pain to answer a 10-minute online questionnaire.

By participating in this project you are helping to broaden the existing knowledge regarding these matters which can contribute to more effective interventions in the future.

Website: The study can be accessed at

(Correct as at 2 April 2020)

University College London (London, UK)

Subject: SCRIP Study: Exploring sleep and chronic pain

Contact: Zoe Zambelli, PhD researcher at the Department of Psychology and Human Development, UCL Institute of Education, University College London, 25 Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AA. Zoe’s email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Details and requirements: We are doing this research so that we can learn more about sleep problems in individuals with chronic pain. The study will be the first to collect a broad range of views about sleep and access to treatment and services for people with chronic pain.

In order to participate in the study, you will need to be 18 years or older and have a chronic pain condition which is not related to cancer.

If you choose to take part, you will be invited to complete an online survey (or paper-based if you prefer).* The survey will take 20-30 minutes to complete and can be completed at a time of your choosing. The survey will be divided into sections: it will ask about you yourself and your chronic pain condition, diagnosis and treatment plan history. There will be a section about your sleep quality and access to services for any sleep problems you may have had. Finally, it will ask about your mood and your quality of life.

Your participation will be kept completely confidential. Only the members of the research project will have access to the survey data. All data collected will be anonymised. If you choose to provide your email address in order to be entered into the prize draw and/or to be contacted about future studies in this project, this will be kept in a separate file and only the lead researcher (Zoe Zambelli) will have access to this information.

Further updates: This SCRIP study forms part of a series of studies on sleep and chronic pain, and the first phase of the study is due to close in April 2020, with the date to be confirmed. After the study has closed, further updates on the project such as new studies or publications from previous studies will be posted throughout the researcher’s PhD on the main website at

If you have any further questions before you decide whether to take part, you can reach the researcher at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

This project has been reviewed and approved by the UCL IOE Research Ethics Committee.

Website: If you are interested in participating in the study, please go to

*If you would prefer to complete the survey on paper, please get in touch with the researcher so that she can send you the survey plus a freepost envelope for return.

(Correct as at 18 February 2020)

University of Amsterdam (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Subject: Exploring the embodied experiences of people living with chronic vulval pain in the Netherlands

Contact: Researcher Maya Lane at the Graduate School of Social Sciences, University of Amsterdam. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via telephone on 07889 207115.

Details and requirements: The lived and personal experiences of chronic vulval pain have not yet been adequately researched, and I am interested in how people understand and experience their pain. I am looking to interview people with experience of chronic vulval pain in the Netherlands as part of an anthropological research project at the University of Amsterdam. As someone with vulvodynia myself, I am very passionate about contributing to understandings of vulvodynia and chronic vulval pain.

The project is open to people who are diagnosed or undiagnosed: anyone with experience of vulvodynia, vestibulodynia, pain during sex, itching, soreness etc. is welcome. I am looking to speak with people who live in the Netherlands primarily. The project will use qualitative interviews that focus on people's personal experiences and stories of chronic vulval pain, therefore any information and experiences are valid and useful. I am particularly interested in people who have tried both medical and alternative treatments. My main research question is: how do people understand and experience vulvodynia?

Participants will be interviewed, and the interviews will be recorded. I will ensure that interviews are as relaxed and comfortable as possible for the interviewee. The interviews will last as long as needed in order to fully share experiences and understandings of vulval pain. Interviews will be arranged at a time and place that is convenient for the interviewee, and would preferably be in person. All data will be anonymised and confidential. Please note that the interviews will be in English.

This study is open to all genders; the only requirement is that the person must have a vulva and have experience of chronic vulval pain. For further information or for any questions, please contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


(Correct as at 20 December 2019)

University of the West of Scotland (Paisley, Scotland, UK)

Subject: Investigating the influence of pain and readiness to change on attitudes towards shared decision-making in chronic pain patients

Contact: Researcher Abbie McGuire at the University of the West of Scotland, High Street, Paisley, PA1 2BE, UK. My telephone no is 07541 533965 and my email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Details and requirements: I am a third year PhD student at the University of the West of Scotland. My research is focused on shared decision making and how it can help individuals with chronic pain. I worked with various NHS boards/members for my first study and I am now collecting data for my second study.

My study aims to investigate the predictors of acceptance of shared decision making by individuals with chronic pain. Therefore, I need as many individuals with chronic pain (exceeding 12 weeks even with treatment) as I can for my study. Participants will be asked to fill out four surveys either online or on paper versions. The time to complete all questionnaires will take around 30-40 minutes but participants do not need to complete them in one attempt. The questionnaires will ask for some demographic information and assess individuals' pain type, duration, intensity, persistent baseline level and breakthrough levels of pain, readiness to change, attitudes to shared decision making and their decisional needs.

If you have any questions regarding the study, please contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Website: If you are interested in taking part or know someone who may be, please go to

(Correct as at 9 December 2019)

University College London (London, UK)

Subject: How can we deconstruct the 'normative sexual experience'? Understanding perspectives on sexual health.

Contact: Vanessa Hall, via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone on 07776 233885.

Details: I am a final year Anthropology student at University College London. I am writing my research project on vulval pain conditions and how they impact upon women's sense of gender, health and well-being. I want to make sure that this dissertation is written about in a way that reflects the true experience of what it is like living with vulval pain and I feel passionate about speaking to the community and gaining insight into this under-represented condition.

Requirements: I would love to speak with you if you have been involved in supporting women with vulval pain. I would like to conduct one-on-one (or group if that is more comfortable) interviews with you in a time and place that suits you.

The interviews will be anonymised at the point of collection and any data destroyed after I have written my thesis. Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or questions.

If you would like to talk to me about having an interview, please contact me using the details given above.

(Correct as at 26 November 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

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 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?


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)

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:


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)