Development of composite symptom variables for quantitative analysis of genitourinary symptomatology in women

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Gonorrhoea and chlamydia infections in women are often regarded as asymptomatic. Syndromic management of sexually transmitted disease (STDs), however, is partially based on vaginal symptoms. We sought to better identify STD-associated symptoms in women by development of composite genitourinary symptom constructs. Standard symptoms were stratified, based on their descriptors (amount, frequency, severity, etc.), into pathological (likely to be STD-associated) and intermediate (unlikely to be STD-related). Simple symptoms and composite symptom constructs were significantly more common in women with STD infections (chlamydia, gonorrhoea and/or trichomonas) than those without infection (six months later). Logistic regression confirmed the association of each pathological symptom construct individually with gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomonas. Composite symptom constructs improve the specificity for detecting STD infections in women.

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