Alexithymia and vaginismus: a preliminary correlation perspective.

Department of Clinical, Applied and Biotechnological Sciences, School of Sexology, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy.
International journal of impotence research (Impact Factor: 1.37). 03/2013; DOI: 10.1038/ijir.2013.5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to measure the prevalence of alexithymia and emotional dysregulation in women with vaginismus not associated with other organic or psychopathological disorders. The study involved the psychometric assessment of 41 patients with vaginismus and 100 healthy women, all of childbearing age. Alexithymia was evaluated by TAS-20 (Toronto Alexithymia Scale). Sexual function was assessed by FSFI (Female Sexual Function Index). In patients with vaginismus, the primary diagnosis of dyspareunia was excluded and an expert psychologist evaluated patients and controls according to DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: 4th edition) criteria to exclude mental disorders. Over half (51.1%) of the patients with vaginismus were classified as alexithymic or borderline (alexithymic trend), compared with just 18% of the control group. In addition, there was a significant difference in the TAS-20 total scores between the two groups (P<0.0001). In terms of relative risk, women suffering from vaginismus thus have a 3.8 times higher probability of showing alexithymia than do healthy women. Vaginismus is a complex syndrome and alexithymia is far from being its only characteristic. However, we found a significant correlation between vaginismus and alexithymia. In theory, alexithymia could thus be a risk factor for vaginismus, although future studies are required to demonstrate any chain of causation between these two conditions.International Journal of Impotence Research advance online publication, 7 March 2013; doi:10.1038/ijir.2013.5.

Download full-text


Available from: Erika Limoncin, Jun 30, 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate attachment styles in a group of women and men with sexual dysfunction. We recruited 44 subjects (21 women and 23 men) with sexual dysfunction and 41 subjects (21 women and 20 men) with healthy sexual function as the control group. Validated instruments for the evaluation of male and female sexual dysfunctions (M/F SD) and a psychometric tool specifically designed to investigate attachment style were administered. In women, significant differences were found between subjects with sexual dysfunction and healthy controls. The scales indicating an insecure attachment showed: discomfort with closeness (FSD=42.85±11.55 vs CTRL=37.38±8.54; P<0.01), relationship as secondary (FSD=26.76±2.60 vs CTRL=18.42±7.99; P<0.01), and need for approval (FSD=26.38±3.61 vs CTRL=20.76±7.36; P<0.01). Healthy women also had significantly higher scores in secure attachment (confidence: FSD=24.57±3.89 vs CTRL=33.42±5.74; P<0.01). Men with sexual dysfunctions differed from healthy men in confidence (MSD=30±6.33 vs CTRL=36.05±5.26; P<0.01) and in discomfort with closeness (MSD=39.08±8 vs CTRL=34.25±7.54; P<0.05). These results suggest that particular aspects related to insecure attachment have a determinant role in people with sexual dysfunctions. It is therefore fundamental to identify the attachment styles and relational patterns in patients receiving counselling and psychological treatments focussed on sexual problems.International Journal of Impotence Research advance online publication, 14 August 2014; doi:10.1038/ijir.2014.33.
    International journal of impotence research 08/2014; 27(3). DOI:10.1038/ijir.2014.33 · 1.37 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Purpose of review To analyze literature on sexual pain disorders and to review and summarize the articles published throughout 2013 which contribute to the current knowledge on this subject. Recent findings By age 40, 7.8% of women reported vulvar pain. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, has combined vaginismus and dyspareunia into the same diagnostic label. The research reviewed in this article seems to differently point toward two conditions, focusing on different aspects both on the etiological and on the treatment area. Higher levels of partner-perceived self-efficacy and lower levels of partner catastrophizing were associated with less pain intensity in women with entry dyspareunia, independent of women's pain perception and self-efficacy. Alexithymia and fear were found to be important etiological factors in vaginismus. Summary The present findings did not provide clear evidence in support of the superiority of any treatment and highlight the need for randomized, placebo-controlled trials that compare treatments in the future. A lot of work remained to be done to understand such a complex and multifaceted disturbance as genital sexual pain, but the articles examined showed that we are slowly adding more knowledge on the etiological cause and treatment models for such conditions.
    Current Opinion in Psychiatry 09/2014; 27(6). DOI:10.1097/YCO.0000000000000098 · 3.55 Impact Factor