Angela S. Yuan, Cecile A. Ferrando, Lisa C. Hickman

Characterization of Pain Associated With Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Is Surgery the Answer?

  • Urology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Surgery

Importance Data on the incidence of pelvic organ prolapse (POP)–related pain, risk factors for its development, and treatment effects of surgery remain sparse. Objectives The aims of the study were to evaluate the incidence and characteristics of POP-related pain in patients presenting with POP and assess the outcome of pain after surgery. Study Design This was a retrospective study of patients presenting for initial evaluation of POP from May 2019 to May 2020. Using a standardized questionnaire, patients were asked “Do you have pain associated with your prolapse (not pressure or fullness)?” and to indicate pain severity and location(s). Patients who underwent surgery were asked postoperatively if their POP-related pain resolved. Patient and perioperative characteristics were obtained from the medical record and used to evaluate relationships between the presence and resolution of POP-related pain. Results Of the 795 patients who met inclusion criteria, 106 (13.3%) reported POP-related pain. The mean age of all patients was 59.9 years, 38.1% had stage 3 or greater POP, and 52.1% were sexually active. Women with POP-related pain reported a median severity of 5 of 10. The most common pain locations were the vagina (46.6%), lower abdomen (27.4%), and back (9.6%). Fifty-seven women with pain (53.8%) underwent surgery, and 40 (70.2%) reported postoperative pain resolution. Of those who did not have resolution, pain improved or remained stable in severity. No patients reported worsening pain after surgery. Conclusions Pain is a symptom experienced by more than 1 in 8 women presenting with POP, with 70% reporting resolution of their pain postoperatively.

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