Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) is widely acknowledged as a common problem with significant consequences for those diagnosed with this condition. There is a lack of studies with good sample size that provide a comprehensive psychological profile of women presenting to specialist chronic pain clinics. Therefore, the objective of this study was to describe the psychological profile of a representative sample of women presenting with CPP at a tertiary referral center.
This was a cross-sectional study. Women were asked to complete a questionnaire assessing symptoms of anxiety and depression, pain severity and interference, pain self-efficacy and catastrophizing beliefs, and sexual functioning.
One-hundred and seventy-five women with CPP were recruited when they attended their initial assessment at a specialist CPP clinic of the Royal Women’s Hospital, a public hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
Over 75% of the participants had experienced pain for longer than 2 years. Fifty-three percent of women experienced either moderate or severe anxiety, and 26.7% experienced moderate-to-severe depression. There were strong correlations between depressive symptoms and pain interference, pain catastrophizing and self-efficacy beliefs.
Our findings confirm previous evidence for high levels of psychological distress and functional impairment associated with this condition, and extend these findings by including measures that are highly relevant to treatment planning, such as thinking styles and pain self-efficacy. Therefore, treatment of this complex condition needs to be holistic, and a multidisciplinary approach is likely to be the best way to achieve this.