Objective To determine the prevalence of dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, pelvic pain, and irritable bowel syndrome in a clinical population of reproductive-age women.
Methods A ten-page questionnaire was administered to a consecutive sample of women age 18-45 years who were approached in the waiting areas of two obsterics and gynecology practices and three family medicine practices in central North Carolina. Of 701 women approached to fill out the questionnaire, 581 (83%) returned completed forms suitable for analysis.
Results The reported prevalence of dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, pelvic pain, and irritable bowel syndrome was 90, 46, 39 and 12%, respectively. Low income was found to be a risk factor for dysmenorrhea and dyspareunia, and African-American race was found to be a risk factor for pelvic pain. Pelvic pain was also more common among women 26-30 years old. Otherwise, dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, pelvic pain, and irritable bowel syndrome were not associated with age, parity, marital status, race, income, or education.
Conclusion Dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, pelvic pain, and irritable bowel syndrome are common complaints among women of reproductive age and are not consistently associated with demographic risk factors. Therefore, inquiry about these pelvic pain complaints should be a routine part of health care for women.
Address reprint requests to: Denise J. Jamieson, MD, MPH, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, San Francisco, Box 0132, San Francisco, CA 94143
© 1996 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists