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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2020 June;155(3):299-305

DOI: 10.23736/S0392-0488.17.05849-7


lingua: Inglese

Dyspareunia in vulvar lichen sclerosus: an overview of a distressing symptom

Monica CORAZZA, Annarosa VIRGILI, Sara MINGHETTI, Alessandro BORGHI

Section of Dermatology and Infectious Diseases, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

BACKGROUND: Dyspareunia is a symptom of vulvar lichen sclerosus (VLS). This study specifically addressed prevalence and severity of dyspareunia in patients affected with VLS as well as the factors that can influence its occurrence. Changes in the severity of dyspareunia with treatment were also explored.
METHODS: In this retrospective, cohort study we included VLS patients who had undergone any topical treatment for 12 weeks, between January 2011 and March 2016, at our Vulva Unit; demographics, history and clinical features recorded at baseline and at treatment completion were elaborated.
RESULTS: The study included 177 patients; among the 90 patients who reported having sexual activity 56.7% complained of dyspareunia; the frequency and severity of dyspareunia was higher among the patients who had not previously been treated with topical corticosteroids than among those who had undergone previous treatments; the patients complaining of dyspareunia reported significantly higher scores for itching and burning compared with those who did not have painful intercourses; after the treatment, 52.5%, 78.4% and 64.3% of the patients reported an improvement ≥75% compared with baseline in dyspareunia, itching and burning scores, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Dyspareunia occurred in more than half VLS patients. The patients who complained of dyspareunia had a more severe overall symptom profile than those who did not report having painful intercourses. The objective severity of VLS did not seem to significantly affect dyspareunia occurrence and severity. Dyspareunia was found to be the symptom most resistant to treatment, however early treatment can be expected to reduce its occurrence and severity.

KEY WORDS: Vulvar lichen sclerosus; Dyspareunia; Therapy; Prodromal symptoms

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