Research Studies

The practitioners at The Centers for Vulvovaginal Disorders are strongly committed to research. They have been recipients of grants from The National Vulvodynia Association, The Gynecologic Cancers Research Foundation, and the Catherine Birch McCormick Foundation. Please look below to see our current research opportunities. 

Lichen Sclerosus- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

Genomics and Proteomics of Lichen Sclerosus

Vulvar Vestibulitis Syndrome (Vestibulodynia) Caused by Oral Contraceptive Pills

Open to new participants 

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a platelet concentrate that helps to speed up tissue healing, without serious side effects, in a very wide range of medical conditions such as diabetic foot ulcers, muscle injury, tendon injury, and in a variety of cosmetic procedures. The PRP works because of its high level of proteins that help with wound healing. It is also apparent from 16,000+ published studies that PRP therapy has almost no risk of scar tissue formation or bad side effects. As the PRP is prepared from your own blood, there are no risks of allergic reactions, transfusion reactions, or infections (HIV, Hepatitis, etc).

We will be enrolling 30 women with active, biopsy proven, lichen sclerosus. The study is only being conducted at the Center for Vulvovaginal Disorders in Washington, DC. This is a double-blind placebo control study so 20 women will get the PRP, 10 will get placebo. There will be 4 study visits in a 14 weeks period. Small biopsies will be performed at the beginning and end of the study. PRP will be injected in areas of active lichen sclerosus two times during the study. No additional treatments will be allowed for four weeks prior to enrolling in the study and during the 14 weeks of the study. No compensation will be provided for participation in the trial.

If you have had problems using steroids for your lichen sclerosus, then this may be the ideal treatment for you. Please read the informed consent very carefully before contacting us. Please be aware that the Center for Vulvovaginal Disorders is the only center conducting this study and its only being conducted in our Washington DC office. If you cannot travel to Washington for the 4 visits, you will not be able participate in this study. It is also possible that you may have to come in prior to the study for one visit to confirm that you have active lichen sclerosus. 

If, after having read the informed consent, you want to participate in the study, please contact Leia Mitchell via E-mail at drg.cvvd@gmail.com. Please give a daytime and evening phone number to be contacted regarding this study.

Currently closed to new participants but anticipate opening to new participants in early 2017

We are currently conducting a clinical study in women with lichen sclerosus to learn which genes are turned on and which genes are turned off in skin affected by LS as compared to normal skin in order to understand LS, and further to develop effective drugs to treat the condition. This study is only being conducted at the Washington DC office of the Centers for Vulvovaginal Disorders. Click here to read the informed consent to see if you are eligible.

Currently closed to new participants

Vestibulodynia is characterized by a severe, burning/sharp pain that occurs in response to pressure localized to the opening of the vagina called the vulvar vestibule. Dyspareunia (i.e., painful intercourse) is the defining symptom of vestibulodynia. Painful intercourse can be present from the first intercourse attempt (i.e., primary vestibulodynia) or it may develop after a period of pain-free intercourse (i.e., secondary vestibulodynia). It has been shown clearly by several authors that oral contraceptive pill use significantly increases the risk of developing vestibulodynia. In addition, it has been well described that oral contraceptive pills cause changes in blood levels of hormones (estradiol, free testosterone, and progesterone.) It has been shown that oral contraceptive pills cause changes in hormonal receptors as well as an altered tissue structure in the vulvar vestibular mucosa. The study investigators, and other authors, have hypothesized that these changes may cause thinning of the vulvar vestibule thereby causing vestibulodynia. This study is designed to see if genetic changes in the Androgen Receptor can predict which women will develop vestibulodynia from oral contraceptive pills.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections for the Treatment of Female Orgasmic Disorder

Double Blind Placebo Controlled Trial of Autologous Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Peri-urethral and clitoral Injections for the Treatment of Female Orgasmic Disorder

Approximately one in twenty women have Female Orgasmic Disorder (FOD) and it is the second most frequently reported sexual problem in American women. FOD can either be lifelong (primary) or acquired (secondary). 

It has been suggested by many scientists that in some women FOD may be caused by decreased clitoral and genital blood flow secondary to blockage in the small blood vessels going to the clitoris (similar to that seen in erectile dysfunction (ED) in men) and/or diminished nerve conduction (also as seen in ED). PRP activates cells to develop into new tissue—nerves, collagen, and blood vessels. As such, PRP may potentially reverse the changes responsible for FOD. In addition, it has been shown that improved sexual function in women is highly linked with increased blood flow through the clitoris. One component of PRP is known to cause growth of new blood vessels. Therefore, we anticipate PRP injections may potentially improve blood flow through both the clitoris and the tissue around the urethra, thereby improving sexual function and decreasing FOD.  Please review our informed consent here


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