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Pain at the Vulvar Vestibule: A Web-Based Survey

Reed, Barbara D. MD, MSPH1; Crawford, Scott MA5; Couper, Mick PhD2; Cave, Christin3; Haefner, Hope K. MD4

Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease: January 2004 - Volume 8 - Issue 1 - p 48-57

Objective. To assess the prevalence, characteristics, and ethnic distribution of pain in the vulvar vestibule among a national sample of women completing a web-based survey.

Methods. Female participants of the SurveySpot Internet research panel (Survey Sampling International) were invited via e-mail to respond to a web-based questionnaire on women's health issues. The frequency and characteristics of reported pain of the vulvar vestibule were assessed among 994 respondents, using univariate and multivariate analyses.

Results. Between May 24, 2002, and June 6, 2002, 730 non-African American women and 364 African American women responded to the invitation to participate, and 94.5% completed the survey. A history of pain at the vulvar vestibule was reported by 288 women (27.9%), with 80 (7.8% of the initial 1032) reporting pain within the past 6 months, 31 (3.0%) reporting pain that lasted 3 or more months, and 18 (1.7%) reporting vestibular pain lasting 3 or more months that occurred within the past 6 months. The prevalence of pain was similar in African American and non-African American women.

Conclusions. The prevalence of pain at the vulvar vestibule is more common than previously estimated. The perception that vulvar pain is rare among African American women was not supported in this survey.

1Department of Family Medicine, 2Institute of Social Research, 3University of Michigan Undergraduate Research Program, and 4Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; and 5MSInteractive, Livonia, MI

Reprint requests to: Barbara D. Reed, MD, MSPH, Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan, 1018 Fuller St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109–0708.


©2004The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology