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Genito-pelvic pain disorders and psychological functioning: a comparative study between patients with vulvodynia and endometriosis

Rossi, V1; Tripodi, F2; Nimbi, FM3; Simonelli, C3; Porpora, MG4

1: Institute of Clinical Sexology of Rome, Italy; 2: Institute of Clinical Sexology, Italy; 3: Department of Clinical and Dynamic Psychology, “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy; 4: Department of Gynecology-Obstetrics & Urology, “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy

Objective: DSM 5 collects in the category “Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration disorder (GPPPD)” some clinical conditions characterized by different psycho-somatic profiles and symptoms. There is also a lack of research that clarify such peculiarities. Vulvodynia and Endometriosis are diseases associated with genital sexual pain whose etiologies remain still unclear. The aim of the present study was to explore the differences in psychological functioning between vulvodynia and endometriosis participants.

Material and method: 32 patients with genito-pelvic pain, 16 with vulvodynia (VG, mean age 31.75±6.92) and 16 with endometriosis (EG, mean age 31.25±6.38), were recruited at the Institute of Clinical Sexology and at the Gynecology-Obstetrics & Urology department of “Sapienza” University in Rome. Participants completed a socio-demographic questionnaire and the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R).

 Result: VG achieved significant worse scores than EG in the following SCL-90-R domains: global severity index (t=-2.42; df=26; p<.05), depression (t=-2.37; df=24; p<.05), anxiety (t=-2.23; df=25; p<.05), paranoid ideation (t=-2.33; df=29; p<.05) and psychoticism (t=-2.58; df=29; p<.05), with VG obtaining clinical scores in all these areas, compared to EG who did not. Both groups got clinical scores in somatization, whereas VG achieved clinical scores also in obsessive compulsive and interpersonal sensitivity domains.

Conclusion: Results underline that there are important differences in psychological profiles of patients complaining genito-pelvic pain. Vulvodynia participants seem to be more impaired than Endometriosis ones. Data could suggest that psychological factors may be involved in the onset or in the maintenance of vulvodynia, more than in others disease, such as Endometriosis. It is important to take into account these differences in order to provide a more specific and appropriate assessment and treatment to women with GPPPD.


Work supported by industry: no.

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