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Latent class analysis of comorbidity patterns among women with generalized and localized vulvodynia: preliminary findings

Authors Nguyen RHN, Veasley C, Smolenski D

Received 18 January 2013

Accepted for publication 14 March 2013

Published 18 April 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 303—309


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Ruby HN Nguyen,1 Christin Veasley,2 Derek Smolenski1,3

1Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 2National Vulvodynia Association, Silver Spring, MD, 3National Center for Telehealth and Technology, Defense Centers of Excellence, Department of Defense, Tacoma, WA, USA

Background: The pattern and extent of clustering of comorbid pain conditions with vulvodynia is largely unknown. However, elucidating such patterns may improve our understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved in these common causes of chronic pain. We sought to describe the pattern of comorbid pain clustering in a population-based sample of women with diagnosed vulvodynia.
Methods: A total of 1457 women with diagnosed vulvodynia self-reported their type of vulvar pain as localized, generalized, or both. Respondents were also surveyed about the presence of comorbid pain conditions, including temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, interstitial cystitis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, endometriosis, and chronic headache. Age-adjusted latent class analysis modeled extant patterns of comorbidity by vulvar pain type, and a multigroup model was used to test for the equality of comorbidity patterns using a comparison of prevalence. A two-class model (no/single comorbidity versus multiple comorbidities) had the best fit in individual and multigroup models.
Results: For the no/single comorbidity class, the posterior probability prevalence of item endorsement ranged from 0.9% to 24.4%, indicating a low probability of presence. Conversely, the multiple comorbidity class showed that at least two comorbid conditions were likely to be endorsed by at least 50% of women in that class, and irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia were the most common comorbidities regardless of type of vulvar pain. Prevalence of the multiple comorbidity class differed by type of vulvar pain: both (37.6% prevalence, referent), generalized (21.6% prevalence, adjusted odds ratio 0.41, 95% confidence interval 0.27–0.61), or localized (12.5% prevalence, adjusted odds ratio 0.31, 95% confidence interval 0.21–0.47).
Conclusion: This novel work provides insight into potential shared mechanisms of vulvodynia by describing that a prominent comorbidity pattern involves having both irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. In addition, the prevalence of a multiple comorbidity class pattern increases with increasing severity of vulvar pain.

Keywords: vulvodynia, generalized, localized, comorbidity

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