Are unexplained vaginal symptoms associated with psychosocial distress? A pilot investigation

Andreas Cohrssen, Uzma Aslam, Alison Karasz, Matthew R. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim: Vaginal complaints cannot be definitively diagnosed in approximately one-third of women. We sought to determine if women without a diagnosis had higher levels of psychiatric disorders. Methods: This was an observational study in an urban family practice clinic. Prior to seeing a clinician, women with vaginal complaints completed the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ); symptoms were measured by the Vaginal Complaints Scale (VCS). Patients were then examined and treated by a family physician. At one and two weeks' time patients were contacted by phone regarding symptom resolution and clinical outcomes. Results: We enrolled 47 patients; one patient was excluded. A diagnosis was made in 36. Eighteen had bacterial vaginosis, 16 had candida, three trichomonas, two HSV, one chlamydia; there were eight dual diagnoses. PHQ diagnoses were slightly less common in women without an identified cause for their symptoms. We obtained follow-up data from 45 subjects at one week and 34 subjects at two weeks' time. At two weeks' follow-up, 97% of subjects had complete resolution or improvement of their symptoms. Symptom improvement was equivalent among women with a diagnosis and those without. We estimate 180 subjects would be needed to detect a clinically meaningful difference in PHQ diagnoses. Discussion: Our pilot study did not find an association between psychiatric diagnoses made by the PHQ and unexplained vaginal symptoms. Nearly all patients experienced rapid resolution of symptoms irrespective of whether a diagnosis had been made or not. These findings are limited primarily by the small sample size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-154
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Primary Health Care
Volume2
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Fingerprint

Health
Trichomonas
Dual (Psychiatry) Diagnosis
Bacterial Vaginosis
Chlamydia
Family Practice
Family Physicians
Candida
Mental Disorders
Sample Size
Observational Studies
Psychiatry
Surveys and Questionnaires

Keywords

  • Psychosocial stress
  • Symptom resolution
  • Vaginitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Are unexplained vaginal symptoms associated with psychosocial distress? A pilot investigation. / Cohrssen, Andreas; Aslam, Uzma; Karasz, Alison; Anderson, Matthew R.

In: Journal of Primary Health Care, Vol. 2, No. 2, 06.2010, p. 150-154.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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