Are female patients with orofacial pain medically compromised?

Reny De Leeuw, Gary D. Klasser, Romulo J.C. Albuquerque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background. Chronic pain has been linked to various medical conditions. The authors assessed whether certain medical conditions are more prevalent in female patients with orofacial pain than in age-matched controls. Methods. The study sample consisted of 87 female adult subjects from a university-based orofacial pain center (OPC) and 87 age-matched female subjects from a university-based undergraduate dental clinic (UDC). Subjects were evaluated between February 2003 and July 2003, and they completed a standardized, 78-question medical history questionnaire as part of routine clinical protocol. Using the subjects' medical, histories, the authors compared 11 major medical categories and 77 individual conditions for both groups. For statistical analyses, the authors used nonparametric Kolmogorov-Smirnov Z tests and χ2 tests and calculated odds ratios (ORs). Results. The medical histories of subjects in the OPC group indicated a significantly greater number of medical conditions than did those of the subjects in the UDC group (Z = -4.411, P < .0001). Specifically, subjects in the OPC group reported having significantly more neurological (Z = -5.304, P < .0001), gastrointestinal (Z = -2.897, P = .004), pulmonary (Z = -2.298, P = .022), dermatologic (Z = -2.984, P = .003) and other conditions (Z = -2.885, P = .004) than did subjects in the UDC group. Subjects in the OPC group reported having 12 individual medical conditions significantly more often (P < .05, ORs ranged from 2.5 to 9.7) than did subjects in the UDC group. Conclusions. Female patients with orofacial pain complaints appear to have more systemic problems than do female patients seeking routine dental care. Clinical Implications. The presence of multiple medical conditions can influence orofacial pain management options and treatment outcomes. Patients with more medically complicated orofacial pain may require treatment on a multidistiplinary basis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-468
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Female
  • Health questionnaire
  • Medical conditions
  • Orofacial pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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