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What makes a treatment plan successful in female genital pain?


Content and Aim

Genital pain is a prevalent, complex and disabling health concern in women. Given that genital pain is heterogeneous and includes different pain syndromes that are determined by a wide variety of biological and psychosocial factors, the aim of the webinar is at increasing awareness of the different profiles of women complaining about genital pain, thereby focusing specifically on vaginismus and vulvodynia because these are the most common causes of genital pain in sexual medicine. We will discuss the challenges of making a differential diagnosis and indicate the importance of taking a good physical examination and a thorough psychosexual history to prevent diagnostic delay, misdiagnoses and treatment mismatches. It will be pointed out the need to develop multimodal treatments that target biopsychosocial aspects of genital pain. This approach requires multidisciplinary teams and collaboration across disciplines.

The speaker will share her own clinical experience, discussing cases and answering possible questions from the audience.


Francesca Tripodi is a psychologist, graduated as clinical sexologist at the Institute of Clinical Sexology, Rome (4-years training course, integrated approach) and as psychotherapist at the Roman School of Family Psychotherapy (4-year training course, systemic approach). She got her diploma at the Oxford School of Sexual Medicine and the title of EFS-ESSM Certified Psychosexologist (ECPS). She is currently working as a psychotherapist, sexologist, lecturer and clinical supervisor at Institute of Clinical Sexology in Rome. Her 25-years clinical experience covers a wide range of sexual issues, but her focus is primarily on female sexual dysfunction and couple therapy. She collaborates as sexual counsellor, research partner and supervisor at some public and private medical and psychological services and departments in Rome and is an active member of the Italian Federation of Scientific Sexology (FISS). Since 2013, she is co-director of and lecturer at the ESSM School of Sexual Medicine. Current member of the ESSM Educational Committee, the ESSM Scientific Committee, the EFS/ESSM Exam Committee, the European Accreditation of Psycho-sexology (EPSA), the EFS Executive and Educational Committees. Author of more than 20 original articles, she has extensive (more than 20 years) lecturing and supervising experience. She is the co-author of the “Syllabus of ESSM Sexual Medicine” (2013), and co-editor of the “EFS and ESSM Syllabus of Clinical Sexology (2014) and the “ESSM Manual of Sexual Medicine” (2015). Over the last 15 years, she participated with lectures, oral communications or poster the most important conferences and international meetings organized by the main scientific societies of sexology (EFS, WAS, ESSM), as well as other congresses in the field. Moreover, in the last 15 years she worked to improve sexual quality of life through media (TV, radio, magazines, news papers). Reviewer for The Journal of Sexual Medicine and for the Sexual Medicine Reviews, Elsevier. Abstract reviewer for the WAS congresses (2015, 2017), EFS congresses (2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016), ESSM congress (2019). She has participated to many research projects, as scientific collaborator or coordinator. Her research areas are mainly:  training in sexology  biopsychosocial approach in sexual treatments  male and female sexual dysfunctions  sexual development during the life span  gender identity and orientation  sexuality education  atypical sexual behavior, sexual preferences, paraphilias  hypersexuality

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Learning objectives

Participants will learn about:

  • how biopsychosocial factors affect the development and maintenance of the pain
  • how to assess the symptoms
  • how to make a differential diagnosis
  • how to build an effective treatment plan