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Painful sex (dyspareunia) in women: prevalence and associated factors in a British population probability survey

Mitchell, KR; Geary, R; Graham, CA; Datta, J; Wellings, K; Sonnenberg, P; Field, N; ... Mercer, CH; + view all (2017) Painful sex (dyspareunia) in women: prevalence and associated factors in a British population probability survey. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology , 124 (11) pp. 1689-1697. 10.1111/1471-0528.14518. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of painful sex among women in Britain, and to explore associated sexual, relationship and health factors that should be considered in assessment. DESIGN: Multi-stage, clustered and stratified population probability sample survey, using computer-assisted self-interview. Sample frame was the British Postcode Address File. SETTING: Participants interviewed at home between 2010 and 2012. SAMPLE: A total of 15 162 adults aged 16-74 years (8869 women). Data reported from 6669 sexually active women. METHODS: Age-adjusted logistic regressions to examine associations between painful sex and indicators of sexual, relational, mental and physical health. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Physical pain as a result of sex for ≥3 months in the past year, plus measures of symptom severity. RESULTS: Painful sex was reported by 7.5% (95% CI 6.7-8.3) of sexually active women, of whom one-quarter experienced symptoms very often or always, for ≥6 months, and causing distress. Reporting painful sex was strongly associated with other sexual function problems, notably vaginal dryness (age adjusted odds ratio 7.9; 6.17-10.12), anxiety about sex (6.34; 4.76-8.46) and lacking enjoyment in sex (6.12; 4.81-7.79). It was associated with sexual relationship factors [such as not sharing same level of interest in sex (2.56; 1.97-3.33)], as well as with adverse experiences such as non-volitional sex (2.17; 1.68-2.80). Associations were also found with measures of psychological and physical health, including depressive symptoms (1.68; 1.28-2.21). CONCLUSION: Painful sex is reported by a sizeable minority of women in Britain. Health professionals should be supported to undertake holistic assessment and treatment which takes account of the sexual, relationship and health context of symptoms. TWEETABLE ABSTRACT: Painful sex-reported by 7.5% of women in Britain-is linked to poorer sexual, physical, relational and mental health.

Type: Article
Title: Painful sex (dyspareunia) in women: prevalence and associated factors in a British population probability survey
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.14518
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.14518
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 The Authors. BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: UK, Britain, co-morbidity, dyspareunia, general population survey, prevalence, sexual dysfunction, sexual function problems, sexual relationship
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1538512
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