Introduction and hypothesis: Pelvic floor myofascial pain (PFMP) is a common but underrecognized component of chronic pelvic pain and pelvic floor disorders symptoms with limited, well-studied treatment modalities. Our objective was to determine the effect of vaginal cryotherapy on PFMP with palpation. Methods: Following a standardized PFMP screening examination, individuals with a pain score ≥4/10 in ≥1 of four muscle groups were invited to participate in a randomized controlled trial comparing patients undergoing vaginal cryotherapy with controls. Participants in both arms could choose to participate in a single in-office treatment; a 2-week, at-home daily treatment; or both. Results: Between March 2019 and September 2021, a total of 163 participants were enrolled and randomized: 80 to cryotherapy, and 83 to the control group. Sixty-three (28 cryotherapy; 35 controls) completed in-office treatment and 56 (32 cryotherapy; 24 controls) completed at-home therapy. In the in-office comparison, mean pain scores decreased significantly in both arms: cryotherapy (5.13 vs 4.10; p=0.02) and controls (5.60 vs 4.72; p<0.01), with a similar magnitude of reduction between arms (p=0.75). In the at-home comparison, mean pain scores decreased significantly in the cryotherapy arm (6.34 vs 4.75; p<0.01), and nonsignificantly in the control arm (5.41 vs 4.66; p=0.07), resulting in a nonsignificant difference between arms (p=0.14). Conclusions: Pelvic floor myofascial pain with palpation improved following both a single cryotherapy session and 2 weeks of daily cryotherapy. Interestingly, pain scores also improved with room temperature therapy. Whether these findings reflect a therapeutic effect of both cold and room temperature intravaginal therapy or a placebo effect is unclear but should be explored in larger studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-225
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Cryotherapy
  • Pelvic floor disorder symptoms
  • Pelvic floor myofascial pain with palpation


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