Questions About The Centre
We are a team of health care providers with expertise in helping people in B.C. with benign, pre-cancerous and cancerous conditions of the vulva and vagina. Our health care team is composed of specialized gynecologists, gynaecologic oncologists, registered nurses, pelvic floor physiotherapists, and psychologists.
Centre experts are passionate about teaching. We work with a variety of healthcare providers that are actively participating in our on-site specialty academic training. Patients will have the opportunity to work with an array of health professionals at each appointment, as they move through different components of our programming.
We help individuals (19 years of age and older) who suffer with ongoing uncomfortable vulvar symptoms. We also help people who notice a change to their vulvar skin – for example, a bump or rash. Our goals are to clarify the cause (diagnosis) and offer treatment to reduce the symptoms and improve quality of life. Please see our specific programs and services for more information.
No. Thanks to the generosity of donors, and resources and support from Vancouver Coastal Health, all of the health care services (gynecologist, psychologist, physiotherapist) available in the Centre are provided at no additional cost to patients in British Columbia. Please Click here if you would like to help support us!
Our Centre focuses only on the care of people with vulvar or vaginal disorders. We do not provide cosmetic or routine gynecological care (eg. contraceptive counselling). We do not provide obstetrical care. Patients with confirmed invasive vulvar cancer should be referred directly to B.C. Cancer. Unfortunately, at the current time we cannot accept patients from outside the province of BC.
The BCCVH will accept referrals for individuals with chronic vulvar symptoms and/or vulvar lesions. The clinics accept patients with benign, and pre-malignant skin conditions. Those with diagnosed vulvar cancer should be referred directly to the BC Cancer Agency.
Questions About Your Appointment
In order to gain access to the BCCVH you need a referral from another health care provider to our Centre. Patients can be referred by their family doctors, gynaecologists, dermatologists or other doctors. Referral forms for your health care provider are available on our website here.
The BCCVH is located on the sixth floor of the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre at Vancouver Hospital.
Click here for a pdf of BC CVH parking and directions or read the information below:
6th Floor (Station 4), 2775 Laurel Street, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1M9
We are located across from VGH on Laurel Street. This is on 12th Avenue and between Laurel & Oak Streets.
Building Entrances – 3 entrances: off Laurel, off of 12th Avenue or off of Oak Street.
5-minute patient pick up/drop off zone (including HandiDart & taxi) is at the Laurel entrance (between 10th and 12th Avenues, accessible Laurel northbound or Laurel southbound).
We are accessible by Transit:
Please take note of the parking restrictions. Since parking can be challenging to find, we suggest you give yourself an extra 30+ minutes to find parking, pay and then walk to the Centre.
Please bring any notes about your condition, test results that relate to your condition (example, skin biopsy, vaginal cultures) and or medical records. We will have received a referral from your health care provider but anything that you can bring that adds to a more fulsome picture would be helpful. And, please bring your questions! This is an opportunity for you to get answers and make progress. If you forget about something please write it down and bring that question or concern to your next appointment. We encourage you to keep track of your own vulvar health with a journal or notes so that we can incorporate that information into your treatment plan.
Also, please bring:
Please do not cancel your appointment if you are menstruating. In most cases, we will be able to complete a vulvar exam. While it may be embarrassing to you, it does not bother our health care professionals.
If you are a current BCCVH patient you may call our nurse during clinic hours at 604-875-4111 ext # 63179. If your are not a current patient, or it is after hours, then please go to the nearest emergency room or contact your primary health care provider. The clinicians in the clinic are not available after clinic hours.
You may also consider contacting:
Registered nurses at HealthLink BC can help you with non-emergency health concerns, to discuss symptoms and procedures, and to recommend whether you should see a health care provider in person. At any time of the day or night, every day of the year, you can call 8-1-1 to ask a registered nurse your health questions.
Immediate access to barrier-free, non-judgemental, confidential support and follow-up to youth, adults, and seniors through 24/7 phone lines and online services.
Anywhere in BC 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433
Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789
Vancouver Coastal Regional Distress Line: 604-872-3311
Sunshine Coast/Sea to Sky: 1-866-661-3311
Seniors Distress Line: 604-872-1234
Online Chat Service for Youth: www.YouthInBC.com (Noon to 1am)
Online Chat Service for Adults: www.CrisisCentreChat.ca (Noon to 1am)
The Centre is home to an active group of clinical researchers. So there are opportunities to learn about and participate in clinical trials or other research activities. The current ongoing trials can be found here on our site under research. Speak with your physician or our Clinical Care Coordinator to learn more.
You can book an appointment directly with the receptionist, either in-person or via phone (604-875-5022 Press #3). If you have not been seen in over 12 months you may need a new referral.
Please call the Centre as soon as possible ((604) 875-5022 Press #3 ). We have a large number of patients waiting to be seen. When given >48 hours notice, we are usually able to schedule another patient. The patients on our wait list will thank you for your consideration!
Our receptionist does her best to call patients 1-2 weeks prior to their appointment to remind them. If you miss your appointment, it is your responsibility to contact the Centre and reschedule. Call: (604) 875-5022 Press #3.
There are a limited number of spots available to see our VPAC clinicians (gynecologist, pelvic floor physiotherapist and psychologist). If you miss one of these VPAC appointments, without providing adequate notice, we will not be able to reschedule the appointment.
Yes, we can provide you with a letter for your work place or school. Speak with the Clinic Care Coordinator.
You may contact your pharmacy directly and ask them to send us a refill request by fax (604 875 4869). We refill prescriptions for patients who have been recently seen and treated. If you have not been seen for > 6 months, then you may need to come in for a follow up appointment.
If the question is a medical question related to treatment recommendations provided by a BCCVH healthcare provider, please contact our Nurse and leave a single detailed message at (604) 875-4111 extension 63179. Please be aware that we do not provide routine gynaecologic care and medical questions related to treatment recommendations made by non-BCCVH providers should be followed up with your family doctor.
If the question is related to your visit with the BCCVH psychologist or pelvic-floor physiotherapist, please contact our Clinical Care Coordinator at (604) 875-4111 extension 63445 or by email at BCCVH@vch.ca
Our health care providers will return messages left by patients; however, as providers work on different days, same day message returns may not be possible. Our physicians will not communicate via email or text messages. Please be aware that while our booking clerks are available Mon-Fri our clinic is only open from Tues-Thurs.
Questions About The Healthcare Team
The Clinical Care Coordinator facilitates communication between and amongst the health care providers, and between the patient and the BCCVH. She is there to help answer your questions and collect feedback about our clinic services, to ensure that you move between health care providers in a timely manner and to provide you with up to date informational and community practitioner resources. To leave a message for the Clinical Care Coordinator call (604) 875-4111 extension 63445 or email her at BCCVH@vch.ca. She is at the clinic on Tues, Wed and Thurs from 8-4 pm. Please be aware that due to the volume of communication requests she may not be able to respond to your message immediately. If you have not received a response within 72 hours please follow-up.
If you have a question about your appointment, or need to cancel or reschedule, please call our booking clerks at: (604) 875-5022 Press #3.
If you have a medical question related to BCCVH treatment recommendations please call our centre nurse: 604-875-4111 ext 63179
Conditions that affect vulvar health can also affect other aspects of your health – physical, emotional, sexual, and social. We believe that treatment from a multidisciplinary perspective is critical to improving the lives of affected individuals. In addition to clinical care, including medical and surgical treatments, we may recommend BCCVH educational interventions, pelvic floor physiotherapy, psychological support, and sexual therapy.
If your BCCVH doctor has recommended you see our team pelvic-floor physiotherapist the purpose of the visit will depend on the reason your doctor thought this may be helpful. This may include a review of your health history, education about your condition and how pelvic-floor physio may be helpful for you, a respectful physical exam and/or EMG biofeedback to assess your pelvic floor tension, learning how to control both the contraction and relaxation of the muscles surrounding the vagina, desensitizing painful areas to touch, exercises to practice at home and sometimes the use of vaginal accommodators. These visits are available in-person only.
If you have Vulvodynia and are participating in the Vulvar Pain Assessment Clinic (VPAC) your visit will be part of your multidisciplinary assessment process. Our pelvic-floor physio therapist will be assessing how your pelvic floor tension may be contributing to your pain experience and information from this visit will contribute to the final recommendations made in your treatment plan.
Pelvic floor biofeedback is an important assessment and educational tool. During your visit this may be used to accurately assess the tension in your pelvic floor through 3 electrodes placed outside of the vulva (usually the inner thigh and near the anus) which reads the current muscle activity of the pelvic floor muscles. This information can then be seen in ‘real time’ on a computer screen as you practice relaxing or tensing your pelvic floor muscles.
Many people who participate in the Vulvar Pain Assessment Clinic benefit from the use of vaginal accommodators to address vaginismus (a reflex tightening of the pelvic floor muscles that can occur when sex is painful). If you are not sure if you want to use them or will need them, wait until your physiotherapy appointment before purchasing. If you already own a set, bring them to your physiotherapy appointment.
Vaginal accommodators (also known as vaginal trainers, inserts or dilators) are smooth, tapered cylinders made of medical grade plastic, wax or silicone which are self-inserted into the vagina to reduce fear of pain and improve confidence with vulvar touch or vaginal penetration. Dilators can be used to learn to gently relax the muscles around the entrance to the vagina to allow accommodation during sexual activity or medical exams and may be recommended for those with Vulvodynia as part of their treatment plan. The dilator sizes are graded for use at different stages of treatment, gradually moving up in size until you can comfortably insert the size appropriate to your treatment goals.
A set of accommodators is approximately $70 and can be purchased at Laurel Prescriptions (102 – 888 W. 8th Ave). The pharmacy is at the corner of Laurel Street, one block east of Oak St. (604-873-5511). Click here for other options to purchase accommodators.
Conditions that affect vulvar health can also affect other aspects of your health – physical, emotional, sexual, and social. We believe that treatment from a multidisciplinary perspective is critical to improving the lives of affected individuals. In addition to clinical care, including medical and surgical treatments, we may recommend BCCVH educational interventions, pelvic floor physiotherapy, psychological support, and sexual therapy. If your BCCVH doctor has recommended you see our team psychologist, the purpose of the visit will depend on the reason your doctor thought this may be helpful. For some, this may mean psychoeducation about your condition or learning new coping tools to manage discomfort or strategies for improving sexual intimacy. These visits are available virtually.
If you have Vulvodynia and are participating in our Vulvar Pain Assessment Clinic, your visit will be part of our multidisciplinary assessment process. Our psychologist will be assessing how certain psychological factors (e.g. stress, anxiety, depression, relationship distress, etc.) may be contributing to your pain experience. This is NOT because Vulvodynia is, itself, a psychological condition (it is not ‘just in your head’), but because Vulvodynia, like other chronic pain conditions, both impacts and is impacted by these stressors. Information shared in this visit will contribute to the final recommendations made in your treatment plan.