Dyspareunia hurts QOL in young women
Regardless of endometriosis, dyspareunia is common among adolescents and young adult women (AYA), and it negatively impacts their physical and mental quality of life (QOL), a recent study has found.
Drawing from the longitudinal cohort study, the Women’s Health Study: From Adolescence to Adulthood, researchers enrolled 151 AYA with surgically identified endometriosis and 287 without such a history. Dyspareunia was defined as having had pain within 24 hours following sexual intercourse. The Short Form-36 (SF-36) questionnaire was used to measure QOL.
Pain after intercourse was reported by 119 AYA with endometriosis and 115 without. The prevalence rate of dyspareunia was high in both cohorts but was almost twice as great in participants with endometriosis (79 percent vs 40 percent; p<0.0001).
In the endometriosis subgroup, SF-36 scores differed largely between AYA with vs without dyspareunia, with discrepancies seen at every subscale. Those with dyspareunia, for example, had lower scores in the role-emotional (p=0.006) and vitality (p=0.0002) domains than their counterparts without pain.
Notably, SF-36 scores in participants with both endometriosis and dyspareunia were below the normative score threshold of 50.0, suggesting poor health-related QOL.
Even in those without endometriosis, dyspareunia worsened QOL, especially in the domains of role-physical (p=0.002), pain index (p=0.0006), general health perceptions (p=0.04), vitality (p=0.005), and role-emotional (p=0.008).
The present findings indicate the importance of discussing dyspareunia and pain among sexually active young women, along with conversations about contraception and sexually transmitted infections, the researchers said.