Vulvodynia Linked to Other Chronic Pain Conditions

Women with vulvodynia significantly more likely to have fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, or IBS

MONDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Women with vulvodynia are approximately two to three times more likely to have a comorbid chronic pain condition such as fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, or irritable bowel syndrome, according to research published in the July issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

To evaluate the relationship between vulvodynia and other chronic pain conditions, Barbara D. Reed, M.D., M.S.P.H., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a population-based study involving 1,890 women with and without vulvodynia who completed a survey containing four screening tests for four pain conditions (vulvodynia, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, and irritable bowel syndrome).

The researchers found that the prevalence was 7.5 percent for interstitial cystitis, 8.7 percent for vulvodynia, 9.4 percent for irritable bowel syndrome, and 11.8 percent for fibromyalgia. More than a quarter (27.1 percent) screened positive for multiple conditions. Women with vulvodynia were significantly more likely to have a comorbid chronic pain condition compared with those without the condition (odds ratio, 2.3 to 3.3). Low socioeconomic status was the only factor that correlated with an increased prevalence of comorbid pain conditions.

"In conclusion, vulvodynia is associated with other chronic comorbid pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, and irritable bowel syndrome, individually and in combination, and the presence of vulvodynia or any of the other comorbid pain conditions increases the likelihood that a woman will have one or more of the other chronic pain conditions," the authors write.

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