Association of Vulvar Symptoms With Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Urinary Incontinence

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study was to compare vulvar symptoms between urogynecology patients diagnosed with urinary incontinence (UI) and/or pelvic organ prolapse to women presenting for annual gynecological care.

Methods

This is a retrospective cross-sectional study. Vulvar symptoms (burning, pain, itching, dyspareunia, and discharge) were measured by asking respondents to rate the severity of each symptom from 0 (none) to 10 (most severe). Patient history, diagnoses, and the Urogenital Distress Inventory-6 (UDI-6) score were abstracted from records. Vulvar symptom results were categorized (0, none; 1–3), mild; ≥4, moderate to severe). Logistic regression models explored whether UI symptoms (UDI-6) and urogynecology diagnoses were associated with each vulvar symptom (moderate to severe vs none).

Results

A total of 606 urogynecology patients grouped by the following urogynecology clinical diagnoses: UI (n = 230), prolapse (n = 193), UI + prolapse (n = 183), and 258 controls (general gynecology patients) were included. The mean (± SD) age (years) was 57.5 ± 16.1, 62.4 ± 13.9, 59.0 ± 14.9, and 41.3 ± 13.8 in the UI, prolapse, UI + prolapse, and control groups, respectively (p < .01). Increasing urinary symptoms were associated with all vulvar symptoms (odds ratio [OR], 1.1–1.2 for each 1 point increase in UDI-6; p < 0.05 for all). Prolapse and UI + prolapse diagnoses (compared with controls) were associated with vulvar burning (OR [95% confidence interval {CI}], 2.5 [1.2–5.0] and 2.9 [1.3–6.1] and pain (OR (95% CI), 3.6 [1.5–8.5] and 3.3 [1.4–8.2], respectively). Prolapse diagnoses were also associated with dyspareunia (OR [95% CI], 5.4 [2.2–13.3]).

Conclusions

Patients with pelvic organ prolapse are more likely to report vulvar burning, pain, and dyspareunia than gynecologic control patients. Urinary symptoms were associated with all vulvar symptoms.

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