We evaluated the stability of the comorbidity between vulvodynia and orofacial pain (OFP) and its associated clinical characteristics over a 2-year follow-up period.
Materials and Methods:
In an earlier study of vestibulodynia patients, we administered questionnaires assessing demographic data, self-reported pain, anxiety, somatic awareness, and presence of signs and symptoms suggestive of clinical and subclinical OFP. The present study readministered the same surveys to a subset of the original cohort after a 2-year follow-up period.
Of the 138 women in the previous study, 71 (51%) agreed to participate in the present study. We confirmed our earlier findings that (1) OFP is a highly prevalent (66%) condition among women with vestibulodynia, and (2) compared with women with no OFP symptoms, those with OFP symptoms experience higher levels of anxiety (P=0.005) and somatic awareness (P<0.001). Although OFP symptoms showed improvement in many of the vestibulodynia patients (33%) with OFP symptoms at baseline, 13% had either developed new symptoms or transitioned from subclinical to clinical OFP classification. Intercourse-related pain decreased in 69% of patients and increased in 24% of patients. Consistent with our earlier report, we did not observe significant differences with respect to demographics or severity of pain during intercourse among the subgroups.
OFP is a common comorbidity among women with vestibulodynia, although the presence of OFP can vary over time. The comorbidity between vestibulodynia and OFP suggests that common underlying mechanisms may mediate both conditions.