Chronic vulvar and other gynecologic pain: Prevalence and characteristics in a self-reported survey

Gloria A. Bachmann, Raymond Rosen, Lauren Denise Arnold, Irina Burd, George G. Rhoads, Sandra R. Leiblum, Nancy Avis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To characterize and assess the prevalence of chronic gynecologic pain and, more specifically, chronic vulvar pain. STUDY DESIGN: A questionnaire was mailed to women aged 18-80 years who were ambulatory patients at an academic multidisciplinary practice. Quality of life, health history, obstetric and gynecologic history, and pain symptoms were assessed. RESULTS: Of the 4,872 surveys mailed to deliverable addresses, 36.8% were returned. The population was primarily Caucasian (83%), with an average age of 50.2 years. Approximately 4% of respondents reported a history of vulvar pain in the 6 months preceding the survey, and 17% reported other types of chronic gynecologic pain. Women reporting vulvar and nonvulvar pain were 2 times as likely as asymptomatic women to report a history of depression and vaginal infections, a poorer quality of life (p < 0.001) and greater stress. Dyspareunia and pain with daily activities were reported more frequently by women with vulvar pain than by women with non-vulvar gynecologic pain. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of vulvar pain in this study was lower than previously reported. Chronic gynecologic pain, and vulvar pain in particular, affects quality of life on both intimate and social levels. Self-reported stress and vaginal infections were the strongest correlates of chronic vulvar pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine for the Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


  • Pain
  • Vulvar diseases
  • Vulvodynia


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