Chronic pelvic pain in women: still a challenge


Dalpiaz Orietta, Department of Urology, Medical University Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, 6020 – Innsbruck, Austria.


Chronic pelvic pain (CPP), a common condition particularly in reproductive-aged women, causes disability and distress, and significantly compromises quality of life and affects healthcare costs. The pathogenesis of CPP is still poorly understood and consequently poorly managed. Furthermore, the lack of a consensus on the definition of CPP greatly hinders epidemiological studies. Patients present with various associated problems, including bladder or bowel dysfunction, gynaecological pathologies or sexual dysfunction, and other systemic or constitutional symptoms. Other conditions, e.g. depression, anxiety and drug addiction, can also coexist. Effective management presupposes an integrated knowledge of all pelvic organs and other systems, including musculoskeletal, neurological and psychiatric systems. The key to treating CPP is to treat it as the complex disease it is. Treatment options range from conservative medical therapy to surgical intervention, and are primarily directed towards symptom relief. Unsatisfactory results of treatment render this condition a frustrating problem for both patients and physicians.