Female Pelvic Conditions: Chronic Pelvic Pain

FP Essent. 2022 Apr;515:11-19.


Geneen T Gin 1Elizabeth RosenblumLesley D WilkinsonPatricia H Brady


Author information

1Department of Family Medicine - University of California San Diego School of Medicine, 402 Dickinson St, San Diego, CA 92103.


Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) is defined as at least 6 months of pain originating from the lower abdomen or pelvis that is not associated with pregnancy. Symptoms include abdominal bloating, low back pain, and dyspareunia. CPP is considered a symptom and not a diagnosis. The etiology may involve a specific organ or condition (eg, endometriosis, adhesions). The most common associated conditions are endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and depression. The history and physical examination are essential in the evaluation. A comprehensive history that encompasses the gynecologic, obstetric, surgical, and psychosocial histories is key. The psychosocial history should include screening for depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and physical and sexual abuse because of their association with CPP. The physical examination should include musculoskeletal, abdominal, and gynecologic examinations. The choice of laboratory tests and imaging studies should be guided by the history and physical examination findings. Management is multimodal and involves management of associated conditions, pharmacotherapy, surgeries and procedures, physical therapy, and behavior and lifestyle therapies. The multidisciplinary care team typically consists of the primary care physician, subspecialty physicians (eg, gynecology, pain management, psychiatry, gastroenterology, urology), a physical therapist, and a behavioral health subspecialist.



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