Objective To describe the attitudes that women with chronic pelvic pain (CPP) attending gynaecology clinics have to their consultations and to determine the ways in which their health care can be improved.
Design Qualitative study using semistructured individual interviews.
Setting UK gynaecology outpatient clinics in district general and teaching hospitals.
Sample Twenty-six women with CPP.
Methods Semistructured individual interviews were conducted. Data gathering and analysis followed a grounded theory approach.
Main outcome measures Women's wishes regarding their care and their actual experiences of care.
Results Four main themes emerged. The women wanted (a) personal care, which they often did not receive; (b) to feel understood and to be taken seriously, although they often felt dismissed, which applied both to women with and without an explanation for their pain; (c) explanation as much as cure, but an adequate explanation was often not provided; and (d) to be reassured, which often they were not. Effective reassurance was complex as it included general reassurance and specific reassurance about cause and treatment.
Conclusions Improvements are needed in the outpatient care of women presenting with CPP. Changes should focus on providing more personal care, so that presenting problems are seen to be taken seriously, findings and management are appropriately explained, and women are more effectively reassured. Interventions need to be developed that meet these needs and tested to determine if they are feasible, acceptable, and improve outcomes.