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  • Pelvic Pain Among Women 18-44 Prevalent, Often Untreated

    Nearly 1 in 3 reproductive-aged women may be experiencing chronic or cyclic pelvic pain, with many cases going unreported and untreated, according to a new report from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    In a study designed to assess the connection between pelvic pain and endometriosis, researchers from NIH and the University of Utah School of Medicine surveyed 473 18- to 44-year-old women scheduled to undergo surgery or imaging. The reasons for the surgery or imaging included infertility, menstrual irregularities, tubal sterilization, masses or lumps in the pelvic region, or pelvic pain.

    Prior to surgery, the women answered questions about the location and severity of any pain they had experienced in the past 6 months. The survey included questions about 17 specific types of pain related to sexual intercourse, menstrual period, urination or bowel elimination, or other pain, such as muscle or joint pain or migraine headaches.

    Researchers found that more than 30% of the women had experienced chronic or cyclic pelvic pain that lasted 6 months or more—a percentage that included women without any pelvic disorder.

    While women with endometriosis experienced the highest incidence of chronic pain (44%), 30% of women without any pelvic condition reported significant chronic or cyclic pain. The results were published online in Human Reproduction (abstract only available for free).

    "Our study suggests that many reproductive-age women are experiencing but not reporting some form of pelvic pain," lead author Karen Schliep, PhD, MSPH, said in an NIH news release. "If they aren’t doing so already, gynecologists may want to ask their patients if they’re experiencing pain, as well as the type and precise location of the pain, and offer treatment as appropriate."

    APTA has recognized the important role physical therapists (PTs) can play in pelvic health and pain management for women, and has created consumer-focused resources on pelvic pain at MoveForwardPT.com. In addition, the work of PTs to improve pelvic health, as well as the overall impact of the association's Section on Women's Health, were featured in a May 2014 article in PT in Motion magazine.

    Want to find out how PTs can apply the latest in pain science to the treatment of persistent pelvic pain? Check out this recorded session from the 2014 NEXT Conference and Exposition.

    Comments

    • Some very disturbing but important findings. It's important to tell your doctor if you're experiencing pain. Thanks for sharing this!

      Posted by Jordan on 8/28/2015 10:34 AM

    • Very interesting information here. I don't think women realize how prevalent an issue pelvic pain is.

      Posted by Hannah on 11/5/2015 3:41 PM

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