Vulvodynia is a chronic pain condition with potential associated factors, including musculoskeletal and psychosocial components.
This study explores the prevalence of pain-related anxiety and depression in women with provoked vestibulodynia with associated overactive pelvic floor muscle dysfunction (PVD-PFD).
A retrospective chart review of 352 women presenting to 2 urban vulvovaginal specialty clinics over the course of a year was conducted. Women presenting for initial evaluation completed validated questionnaires for pain-related anxiety and depression. Women who completed these questionnaires with a diagnosis of PVD-PFD independently confirmed by a women’s health physical therapist were included in analysis. Information on previously attempted treatments was gathered.
Pain-related anxiety was measured with the Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale-20 and depression with the Patient Health Questionnaire 8.
Of 79 women with confirmed PVD-PFD, 22% met criteria for pain-related anxiety alone, 4% for depression alone, and 27% for both pain-related anxiety and depression, with a significant association between anxiety and depression (χ (1) = 21.44, P < .0005, phi = 0.521). There was also a significant association between anxiety and/or depression and whether prior treatment was attempted (χ (2) = 6.81, P = .03, phi = 0.294).
The study found that 49% of women with PVD-PFD experienced pain-related anxiety, with or without depression. In addition, there was a statistically significant association between attempts at prior treatment and greater pain-related anxiety and depression. This is the first study to report a rate of pain-related anxiety specifically in women with PVD-PFD. These findings are consistent with studies showing elevated pain-related anxiety in other chronic musculoskeletal conditions, including lower back pain and fibromyalgia. Govind V, Krapf JM, Mitchell L, et al. Exploring Pain-Related Anxiety and Depression in Female Patients With Provoked Vulvodynia With Associated Overactive Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction. J Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX-XXX.

Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.