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Prevalence and characterization of dyspareunia in a general urology clinic population
Department of Urology, University of Virginia Medical Center, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Dec  2021 (Vol.  28, Issue  6, Pages( 10929 - 10935)
PMID: 34895398


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  • Introduction:

    To assess the character and prevalence of dyspareunia in a general urology population presenting for evaluation of unrelated non-painful complaints.

    Materials and methods:

    This is an IRB-approved, prospective, cross-sectional survey-based assessment of dyspareunia in a general cohort of female patients presenting to a urology clinic over a 10-month period (7/2018-5/2019). Patients presenting specifically for acute painful complaints were excluded. Participating patients completed an original 23-item survey with questions pertaining to dyspareunia. Specific focus was placed on pain characteristics, including location, quality, frequency, severity, and quality of life. Descriptive analysis, pain mapping, and plotting analyses were performed to assess pain patterns.


    A total of 181 women completed the survey, with a mean age of 56 years. Overall, 53 (29%) women reported dyspareunia. However, among currently sexually active women the prevalence of dyspareunia was 46% (38/83). Patients reported a significant variety of pain locations and qualities. Women most commonly reported multiple pain locations (median 2 (IQR 1,4)), with 33 distinct combinations identified. The majority (70%) of women endorsed only one pain quality, although eight unique combinations were nonetheless seen. A significant proportion (34%) reported high or very high pain severity, with 45% having pain most or all times of sexual activity. A majority (53%) of patients indicated moderate to severe dissatisfaction with their sexual activity. Despite this finding, a significant proportion (33%) of patients with dyspareunia reported having at least weekly sexual activity.


    A significant percentage of women presenting to a general urology clinic experience dyspareunia. Notably, patient-reported pain characteristics, including location and quality, varied significantly across women assessed. Further study is needed to understand how these characteristics may relate to different and specific etiologies of sexual pain and directed treatment options.