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Interpretation of the Sexual Functioning Questionnaire in the Presence of Vulvar Pain

Legocki, Laurie J. PhD1; Aikens, James E. PhD1; Sen, Ananda PhD1; Haefner, Hope K. MD2; Reed, Barbara D. MD, MSPH1

Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease: July 2013 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 - p 273–279
doi: 10.1097/LGT.0b013e31826ca384
Original Articles

Objective: This study aimed to assess whether the domains identified by items on the Sexual Functioning Questionnaire (SFQ) apply to women with vulvodynia.

Materials and Methods: Forty-one women with vulvodynia and 43 asymptomatic controls, between the ages 18 and 70 years, were assessed with a physician evaluation and a written survey that included the SFQ.

Results: Women with vulvodynia had a higher likelihood of female sexual dysfunction than did controls as indicated by 5 of the seven individual SFQ domains (desire, arousal-lubrication, pain, enjoyment, and partner domains, p < .05). Scored on individual items relating to pain or penetrative sex differed more by vulvodynia presence than did items related to arousal and emotions. Compared with published SFQ psychometrics, factor analysis among women with vulvodynia demonstrated similar factor loadings in 6 of the 7 domains of the SFQ (desire, arousal-sensation, arousal-lubrication, orgasm, partner, and pain), but the enjoyment domain intermingled substantially with these other domains.

Conclusions: The SFQ factor structure is generally valid among women with vulvodynia. However, vulvodynia may impact responses to individual items on questions about pain and/or penetration, which may potentially result in erroneous interpretations.

Having vulvodynia may impact responses to individual questions on the SFQ related to pain and/or penetration, which impact SFQ subdomain scores, resulting in potentially erroneous interpretations.

Departments of 1Family Medicine, and 2Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Reprint requests to: Laurie J. Legocki, PhD, Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan, 1018 Fuller St, Ann Arbor, MI 48105. E-mail: lauriele@umich.edu

This study was supported in part by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, R01 HD045661 (to B.D.R.).

The authors have declared they have no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2013 by the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology