Presentation Authors: Kirkpatrick B. Fergus*, Andrew J. Cohen, Benjamin N. Breyer, San Francisco, CA
Introduction: Dyspareunia incurs a considerable toll on quality of life for those affected, and is a complex disorder with poorly understood risk factors. The purpose of this study is to determine demographic, relationship and health risk factors for dyspareunia in a population of healthy female athletes.
Methods: This is a secondary analysis of a cross-sectional study on the impacts of cycling on urinary and sexual wellness of female athletes. Participants were recruited online and through sporting clubs. Those with complete survey data were included. We assessed the role of demographic, relationship, and health risk factors in sexual pain using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). A final multivariate logistic regression model was constructed using risk factors identified in univariate analysis with p < 0.05.
Results: A total of 2,115 women were included, with 1,175 (56%) reporting any level of sexual pain or greater, 364 (17%) reporting frequent pain, and 378 (18%) reporting severe pain. This was a healthy sample, with less than 5% reporting diabetes or hypertension, and a median BMI of 23.3 (IQR 21.4-25.7). Figure 1 shows the distribution of sexual pain according to age. Risk factors associated with reporting any sexual pain are shown in Table 1. Increasing age, BMI, and reporting current alcohol use were protective; by contrast, having genital nodules OR 1.49 (95% CI 1.22-1.82) or experiencing genital numbness OR 1.29 (1.06-1.57) were associated with sexual pain. Reporting being &[Prime]moderately satisfied&[Prime] or &[Prime]very satisfied&[Prime] with emotional closeness to a sexual partner was associated with decreased odds of sexual pain.
Conclusions: We report a surprisingly high, previously unknown prevalence of sexual pain in healthy, female athletes. Physicians should elicit careful sexual histories to ensure such problems are diagnosed. Importantly, emotional closeness and intimacy remains an essential component of sexual wellness among this cohort. Future research should explore the role of the dyadic relationship in both men and women&[prime]s sexual function and in interventions that seek to improve sexual functioning.