Objective We used validated sensitive and specific questions associated with clinically confirmed diagnoses of unexplained vulvar pain (vulvodynia) to compare the cumulative incidence of vulvar pain and prevalence of care-seeking behavior in Boston metropolitan area (BMA) and in Minneapolis/Saint Paul metropolitan area (MSP) from 2001 through 2005 using census-based data, and 2010 through 2012, using outpatient community-clinic data, respectively. Study Design We received self-administered questionnaires from 5440 women in BMA and 13,681 in MSP, 18-40 years of age, describing their history of vulvar burning or pain on contact that persisted >3 months that limited/prevented intercourse. Results By age 40 years, 7-8% in BMA and MSP reported vulvar pain consistent with vulvodynia. Women of Hispanic origin compared to whites were 1.4 times more likely to develop vulvar pain symptoms (95% confidence interval, 1.1-1.8). Many women in MSP (48%) and BMA (30%) never sought treatment, and >50% who sought care with known health care access received no diagnosis. Conclusion Using identical screening methods, we report high prevalence of vulvar pain in 2 geographic regions, and that access to health care does not increase the likelihood of seeking care for chronic vulvar pain.
- ethnic groups
- health services accessibility