Multidisciplinary treatment programs for provoked vestibulodynia (PVD) are recommended, yet few have been evaluated. This study examined women’s symptom trajectories over time, as well as baseline demographic, psychosocial and pain characteristics as predictors/ moderators of sexual pain and distress following treatment at a clinic using multidisciplinary concurrent methods. We also examined the impact of baseline variables on the probability of having low sexual distress scores following treatment.
Materials and Methods:
Women attending a multidisciplinary treatment program for PVD were invited to complete questionnaires before, following, and at 6 and 18 months after program completion. Questionnaires included the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), Female Sexual Distress Scale (FSDS), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS), Painful Intercourse Self-Efficacy Scale (PISES), and Pain Vigilance and Awareness Questionnaire (PVAQ). Linear mixed-effects models evaluated the FSDS and FSFI pain subscale as criterion variables, and the other baseline variables as predictors and moderators.
Significant improvements in sexual distress and pain were observed over time. No significant moderators were identified, but higher baseline levels of FSFI desire and arousal predicted greater improvements in sexual distress. Similarly, higher baseline levels of desire predicted greater improvements in pain. Among women distressed at baseline and with 6 month FSDS scores, 25% (n=35) were no longer sexually distressed at 6 months; higher baseline levels of desire were associated with greater probability of having low sexual distress at 6 months.
Although global improvements were observed, women with poorer baseline sexual functioning were less likely to improve after multidisciplinary treatment.