Challenging atrophied perspectives on postmenopausal dyspareunia: a systematic description and synthesis of clinical pain characteristics.

Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy (Impact Factor: 1.27). 03/2012; 38(2):128-50. DOI: 10.1080/0092623X.2011.569641
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study investigated the clinical attributes of postmenopausal dyspareunia. The authors obtained a systematic description of pain symptomatology from 182 postmenopausal dyspareunia sufferers using a structured interview, quantitative sensory testing, a standardized pain measure, and gynecological examination. The authors conducted a cluster analysis to examine whether sufferers could be categorized using clinical pain and gynecological factors. The authors delineated 6 subgroups, each exhibiting distinct combinations of pain and gynecological characteristics. The results support the hypothesis that, similarly to premenopausal dyspareunia, postmenopausal dyspareunia is a heterogeneous condition.

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    ABSTRACT: To locate sites of genital tenderness in breast cancer survivors not using estrogen who experience dyspareunia and to test the hypothesis that tenderness is limited to the vulvar vestibule rather than the vagina and is reversed by topical anesthetic. Postmenopausal survivors of breast cancer with moderate and severe dyspareunia were recruited for an examination including randomization to a double-blind intervention using topical aqueous 4% lidocaine or normal saline for 3 minutes to the areas found to be tender. Comparisons of changes in patients' reported numerical rating scale values were made with the Wilcoxon rank-sum test with significance set at P<.05. Forty-nine patients aged 37-69 years (mean 55.6±8.6 years) had a median coital pain score of 8 (interquartile range 7-9, scale 0-10). On examination, all women had tenderness in the vulvar vestibule (worst site 4 o'clock median 6, 4-7). In addition, one had significant vaginal mucosal tenderness and two had pelvic floor myalgia. All had vulvovaginal atrophy with 86% having no intravaginal discharge. Aqueous lidocaine 4% reduced the vestibular tenderness of all painful sites. For example, pain at the worst site changed from a median of 5 (4-7) to 0 (0-1) as compared with saline placebo, which changed the worst site score from 6 (4-7) to 4 (3-6) (P<.001). After lidocaine application, speculum placement was nontender in the 47 without either myalgia or vaginal mucosal tenderness. In breast cancer survivors with dyspareunia, exquisite sensitivity was vestibular and reversible with aqueous lidocaine. Vaginal tenderness was rare despite severe atrophy.,, NCT01539317. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:: I.
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