Dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse) is a major indicator of urinary tract infections, being present in 83% of cases. The symptom is especially accurate at identifying UTIs in nonmenopausal women, researchers have found.
Dyspareunia is a common symptom of UTIs, especially in premenopausal women, but is rarely inquired about during patient evaluations, according to researchers from Florida Atlantic University.
In 2010, the researchers found that among 3000 of their female Latinx patients ages 17-72 years in South Florida, 80% of those with UTIs reported experiencing pain during sexual intercourse.
Since then, they have studied an additional 2500 patients from the same population.
Among all 5500 patients, 83% of those who had UTIs experienced dyspareunia.
80% of women of reproductive age with dyspareunia had an undiagnosed UTI.
During the perimenopausal and postmenopausal years, dyspareunia was more often associated with genitourinary syndrome than UTIs.
94% of women with UTI-associated dyspareunia responded positively to antibiotics.
"We have found that this symptom is extremely important as part of the symptomatology of UTI [and is] frequently found along with the classical symptoms," the researchers reported. "Why has something so clear, so frequently present, never been described? The answer is simple: Physicians and patients do not talk about sex, despite dyspareunia being more a clinical symptom than a sexual one. Medical schools and residency programs in all areas, especially in obstetrics and gynecology, urology, and psychiatry, have been neglecting the education of physicians-in-training in this important aspect of human health. In conclusion, this is [proof] of how medicine has sometimes been influenced by religion, culture, and social norms far away from science."
The data were presented at the 2023 Menopause Meeting of the North American Menopause Society. The study was led by Alberto Dominguez-Bali, MD, from Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida.
The study authors report no limitations.
The authors report no relevant financial relationships.
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Cite this: This Symptom Signals UTI in 83% of Cases - Medscape - Sep 29, 2023.