Researchers from the University of California San Francisco recommend that postmenopausal women with vaginal symptoms should be screened for depression and urinary incontinence. The recommendations are based on their findings that these conditions often coexist, and further, that the presence of either depression or incontinence both magnify the effects of vaginal problems and negatively impact women’s quality of life. The team reports that as many as one third of postmenopausal women experience vaginal dryness, soreness, itching, irritation, pain during sexual activity, and other issues. However, the significance of these symptoms in relation to functionality and well-being is not well understood. The findings appear online ahead of print in the July 15 edition of the journal Menopause.
Based on results collected from 745 participants who completed a self-report questionnaire, the researchers found that women with comorbid depression reported an 11% to 22% greater impact of vaginal symptoms on all dimensions of functioning and well-being. Women with urinary incontinence reported a 27% to 37% greater impact of vaginal symptoms on daily living, emotional well-being, and self-concept and body image. The study findings additionally confirmed an observation from the team of Masters and Johnson that more frequent sexual activity may help to ameliorate the negative impact of vaginal symptoms.
PWJ—PAINWeek Journal: read an article about vulvodynia.
Dr. Colleen Fitzgerald talks about urogenital pain in this interview.
Read a news story about the above findings here.
A link to the journal abstract may be found here.