This month, we’re featuring Good Clean Love medical advisor Dr. Jessica Drummond’s case study (published in 2018) which reported successful treatment of one woman’s vulvodynia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and depression using a functional nutrition approach.
According to clinical research, women who experience vulvodynia are 4 to 7 times more likely to present with comorbidities such as candidiasis, and 2 to 4 times more likely to present with IBS. Depression is often correlated with vulvodynia and may be as high as 45% in women suffering with this condition.
The patient presented in the study had a three-year case of vulvodynia, a history of depression and anxiety, and was prescribed frequent antibiotics in childhood. Prior to functional nutrition therapy, the patient’s treatments consisted of both pelvic floor therapy, a vulvodynia support group, and psychotherapy to deal with relationship issues.
A nutrition plan consisting of a paleo elimination diet of grains, dairy, and sugar included vegetables, fish, and grass-fed meat along with nutritional supplements. The patient also implemented mindfulness techniques and walking exercises for stress management. Following her 22-week protocol, the patient (who became pregnant at the onset of the study) reported resolved vulvodynia and IBS symptoms, and a significant reduction in her antidepressant prescription medication duloxetine.
This case study provides evidence for implementing integrative healthcare and functional nutrition as part of a multidisciplinary treatment plan for women’s health issues. Dr. Drummond also suggests incorporating stress management assessments in patient protocols and is currently studying HRV and nervous system regulation.
Functional Nutrition Treatment of Vulvodynia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Depression: A Case Report
Jessica Drummond, DCN, CNS, PT
Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal, June 2019