|April 2004 · Vol. 16, No. 4
UPDATE on CHRONIC PELVIC PAIN
New Advances That Are Changing Patient Care
New insight on an enduring enigma
The common denominator for an array of complaints is abnormal pain processing—not anatomic disorders.
Dr. Scialli is professor, department of obstetrics and gynecology, Georgetown University Medical Center,
The most important new advance in chronic pelvic pain is recognition that this complaint often does not represent an anatomical disorder that can be seen, photographed, or excised away. It is a syndrome—a group of related disorders associated with abnormal pain processing. The abnormal pain processing may relate to other symptoms affecting mood, sleep, and autonomic function. The term for this array of complaints—chronic pelvic pain syndrome–reinforces the concept that a group of disorders produces the subjective experience of pain.
This new understanding is steering us toward therapeutic strategies that may be more helpful than multiple uncoordinated treatments at the hands of different specialists—the unfortunate experience of too many women.