Background: Chronic pain may be perceived differently according to gender and race, which may affect physical health and psychological wellbeing. We evaluated daily pain ratings in black women as compared to white women with provoked vestibulodynia (PVD). Methods: Seventy-one women (44 black, 27 white) rated pain severity with tampon insertion and sexual intercourse and recorded daily vulvar pain level on a visual analogue scale (0 = no pain to 10 = worst pain imaginable). In addition, they completed the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) Interference Scale and Hamilton Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS). Multivariate analysis was performed to determine the effect of race on pain intensity after adjusting for functional impairment, affective distress and demographic characteristics. Results: Pain ratings from tampon insertion (6.37 ± 1.89 vs. 5.61 ± 1.98, p = .12) and sexual intercourse (6.28 ± 2.11 vs. 5.29 ± 2.50, p = 0.24) were similar, but daily vulvar pain (4.57 ± 2.27 vs 2.74 ± 2.43, p = <.01) was significantly higher in black women. BPI-interference scores were associated with small, but significant increases in tampon insertion pain (p = <.01, beta = .06 units) and daily pain (p < .01, beta = .10 units) and to a lesser degree with sexual intercourse pain when corrected for multiple comparisons (p = .05, beta = .06 units). Race had no effect on pain after adjusting for other variables. Conclusion: While race was associated with functional impairment, after accounting for this, race was not associated with level of vulvar pain with PVD.
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