Chronic pelvic pain in women of reproductive and post-reproductive age: a population-based study

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Background: Epidemiological studies on chronic pelvic pain (CPP) have focused on women of reproductive age. We aimed to determine the prevalence of chronic pelvic pain (CPP) in adult women and the differences in associated factors among women of reproductive age and older women. Also, to determine whether distinct sub-groups existed among CPP cases.
Methods: A cross-sectional postal survey was conducted amongst 5300 randomly selected women aged ≥25 years resident in the Grampian region, UK. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine pregnancy-related and psychosocial factors associated with CPP. To identify sub-groups of CPP cases, we performed cluster analysis using variables of pain severity, psychosocial factors and pain coping strategies.
Results: Of 2088 participants, 309 (14.8%) reported CPP. CPP was significantly associated with being of reproductive age (Odds Ratios (OR) 2.43, 95% CI 1.69–3.48), multiple non-pain somatic symptoms (OR 3.58 95% CI 2.23–5.75), having fatigue (OR mild 1.74 95% CI 1.24–2.44, moderate/severe 1.82, 95% CI 1.25–2.63) and having depression (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.09–2.38). CPP was less associated with multiple non-pain somatic symptoms in women of reproductive age compared to older women (interaction OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.28–0.92). We identified two clusters of CPP cases; those having little/no psychosocial distress and those having high psychosocial distress.
Conclusion: CPP is common in both age-groups, though women of reproductive age are more likely to report it. Heightened somatic awareness may be more strongly associated with CPP in older women. There are distinct groups of CPP cases characterised by the absence/presence of psychosocial distress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445–455
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain
Issue number3
Early online date15 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


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