The low-oxalate diet
A diet low in oxalate salts has been suggested as a treatment for women who experience unexplained vulval pain or vulvodynia. The association of oxalates and vulval pain was highlighted in an article in an American medical journal in 1991 where a woman with vulvodynia was found to have abnormally high levels of oxalate in her urine. She was treated with a combination of a low-oxalate diet and the use of a food supplement called calcium citrate which removes the oxalate from the body. Following treatment her symptoms resolved as her urine oxalate levels fell. This is the only reference in the literature which shows the low-oxalate diet as a beneficial treatment; however, it is widely used in the United States as a treatment for vulvodynia. The diet may be supplemented with the use of oral calcium citrate.
There are few doctors in the UK who are aware of or routinely use this treatment. Many specialist doctors who run vulval clinics in this country are sceptical about the treatment, as much of the evidence has not been published in the medical literature and the treatment is not of proven value. A diet low in oxalate with or without calcium citrate may, however, benefit some women with vulval pain and this is certainly an option for some women to try.
The low-oxalate diet is also used for patients with kidney disorders, so unless you also suffer from kidney disorders please ignore any information in the literature regarding calcium-restricted or phosphate-restricted diets.
For further low-oxalate diet and cooking articles try these links to other websites:
For discussion of one particular study looking at the low-oxalate diet and vulvodynia, please see our Published research page. Alternatively, for further or more recent research on oxalates and vulval pain, you can visit the PubMed database, which allows you to search for studies online.