Vulvar pain, sexual behavior and genital infections in a young population: a pilot study


Address for correspondence:
Anna-Lena Berglund
Department of Neurotec
Centre for Gerontology and Health Economics
Karolinska Institutet
Crafoords väg 12
113 23 Stockholm


Background.  To study the prevalence of pain during intercourse in a young population and analyze factors that may be associated with vulvar pain.

Methods.  During a 2-month period, 172 women (aged 12–26 years) consulting four different adolescent health centres in Stockholm, Sweden, responded to a questionnaire concerning sexual habits, history of infections, and genital symptoms a priori vulvar pain. Multiple logistic regression model was used to evaluate the independent effects of the variables associated with vulvar pain.

Results.  One-third of the women reported regular pain during and/or after intercourse. Having regular sexual intercourse before the age of 16 years and using oral contraception for more than 2 years were independent variables increasing the risk of vulvar pain. There was a correlation trend between vulvar pain and lack of sexual desire, recurrent candida infections, and urinary tract infections. However, there was no correlation to sexually transmitted diseases. More than 4 years of regular intercourse and coitus at least 4 times a week were factors that inversely correlated to vulvar pain.

Conclusions.  One-third of young women answering a questionnaire at adolescent health centres reported regular pain during and/or after intercourse. Early regular coitus and long-time use of oral contraceptives were factors associated with vulvar pain. Frequently rubbing a vulnerable mucosa may result in irreversible damage and vulvar vestibulitis syndrome.