Comfort in discussing vulvar pain in social relationships among women with vulvodynia

Ruby H N Nguyen, Richard F. MacLehose, Christin Veasley, Rachael M. Turner, Bernard L. Harlow, Keith J. Horvath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess women's likelihood of feeling comfortable in discussing vulvar pain. Study Design: Using a survey of women with selfreported clinician-diagnosed vulvodynia, we assessed the likelihood of comfort in discussing vulvar pain within four types of relationships: husband/partner, mother/ sister, best friend, and other women friends. Separate multivariable models were fit for relationship type to determine whether vulvar pain characteristics (length, severity, family history) were associated with likelihood of feeling comfortable in discussing. Results: A total of 67% of women with a partner were comfortable discussing their vulvar pain with that person, whereas 39% were comfortable with family and 26% were comfortable with women friends. Independent of age, the more years women had vulvodynia the less likely they would be comfortable discussing it. Compared to lower levels of vulvar pain, increasing levels (mild, moderate and severe) were associated with greater comfort in discussing their pain with friends; women were 10% more likely to be comfortable with each increase in pain level, and 12% more likely to be comfortable with other women friends. Conclusion: Our data suggest that vulvar pain characteristics may determine how comfortable a woman is to discuss her vulvar pain, but it varies by relationship type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-114
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2012


  • Chronic
  • Disclosure
  • Pain
  • Relationship
  • Social
  • Stigma
  • Vulvodynia

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