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J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2014 Apr;36(4):324-330. doi: 10.1016/S1701-2163(15)30608-3.

Persistent genital arousal in women with pelvic and genital pain.

Author information

Wasser Pain Management Centre, Toronto ON.
Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec, Quebec City QC.


in English, French


Persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD) has been identified as a condition of often unprovoked genital arousal associated with a significant level of distress. PGAD is not well understood, and no definitive cause has been determined. The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of the disorder and to seek commonalities between cases of PGAD encountered in a chronic pain management clinic.


We reviewed a cohort of 15 women with PGAD who presented to a chronic non-cancer pain clinic in a large urban tertiary teaching hospital that provides pelvic and genital pain management. We conducted a series of interviews to examine medical history, history of presenting illness, and management. Descriptive statistics were used to examine the data.


Findings were largely consistent with previous research on PGAD regarding symptomatology and aggravating and alleviating factors. Symptoms of genital pain, depression, and interstitial cystitis were found in over one half of the patients in this cohort. Previous antidepressant use, restless legs syndrome, and pudendal neuralgia were found in a number of cases. Pelvic varices and Tarlov cysts have been previously identified as possible contributors to PGAD, but these were not a common finding in our cohort.


Further research is needed to build on the current understanding of PGAD. Patients should be asked about persistent arousal as part of a sexual and reproductive history, especially in the case of common comorbidities.


persistent genital arousal disorder; restless genital syndrome; spontaneous genital arousal; unprovoked genital arousal

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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