Vulvodynia related to other chronic pain conditions

August 10, 2012

Women with vulvodynia are at increased risk having fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis (IC), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). So say the results of a population-based cohort study recently published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

  • Risk of fibromyalgia, IC, IBS higher in women with chronic pelvic pain

  • Low socioeconomic status only demographic variable associated with disorder concurrence

Women with vulvodynia are at increased risk having fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis (IC), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). So say the results of a population-based cohort study recently published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The longitudinal, population-based survey, part of the Michigan Woman to Woman Health Study, included validated screening questionnaires for the 4 conditions. Surveys were sent to 2,500 women in southeastern Michigan.

A total of 1,940 completed surveys were received; 1890 (97.4%) surveys had all questions answered and were included in the analysis. Prevalence of the conditions, based on the screening tests, varied from 7.5% for IC to 11.8% for fibromyalgia, with 9.4% reporting IBS and 8.7% screening positive for vulvodynia; 27.1% reported multiple chronic pain conditions.

Presence of vulvodynia made a woman 2 to 3 times more likely to have each of the other chronic pain conditions studied, researchers found. Of the demographic characteristics studied, only low socioeconomic status was associated with concurrent presence of multiple conditions.

According to the researchers, chronic pain conditions are increasingly prevalent and under-diagnosed, and further study is needed of the relationships and commonalities among such conditions.

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