Abstract

Stress and chronic pelvic pain

Pierce AN1, Christianson JA2. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2015;131:509-35. doi: 10.1016/bs.pmbts.2014.11.009. Epub 2015 Feb 2.
 
     
Author information

1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, School of Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas, USA. 2Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, School of Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas, USA. Electronic address: jchristianson@kumc.edu.

Abstract

Chronic pelvic pain is the number one reason that patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome, vulvodynia, or chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome seek medical attention. These syndromes generally have no associated pathology or identified underlying etiology, although dysfunction within the immune system, central nervous system, and peripheral nervous system has been identified. Due to the lack of pathology, chronic pelvic pain syndromes are often diagnosed by exclusion, and the high degree of comorbid symptomology among these and other functional pain disorders complicate identifying appropriate treatment strategies. Chronic stress exposure early in life has been shown to increase the likelihood of pelvic pain later in life, and acute stress exposure can induce or increase symptom severity. In this chapter, we describe the individual chronic pelvic pain syndromes and how stress influences the likelihood of diagnosis and the severity of symptoms experienced by patients.

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