Nongynecologic somatic pathology in women with chronic pelvic pain and negative laparoscopy

J Reprod Med. 1991 Apr;36(4):253-9.


One hundred eighty-three women with chronic pelvic pain were referred to a multidisciplinary chronic pelvic pain clinic after negative laparoscopy. One hundred twenty-two of them completed a thorough medical and psychologic evaluation and were followed for a minimum of six months after completion of therapy. Occult somatic pathology was diagnosed in 57 women (47%), including 19 in whom coexistent psychopathology was diagnosed. Myofascial pain was the most common somatic diagnosis, followed by atypical cyclic pain (dysmenorrhea or mittelschmerz); gastroenterologic, urologic and infectious diseases; and pelvic vascular congestion. No plausible somatic etiology was apparent in the remaining 65 (53%) of the 122 referrals. Nongynecologic somatic pathology accounted for 34 (29%) and gynecologic pathology for 23 (19%) of the referrals, only 6 (5%) of whom ultimately required hysterectomy. Women with a somatic diagnosis were found to be significantly older than the remainder of the referral population. Long-term symptomatic improvement or resolution of pain was obtained in 43 (75%) of the 57 patients with somatic diagnoses. Coexistent psychopathology was found to correlate with a poorer long-term prognosis. Our findings underscore the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to evaluating and treating chronic pelvic pain in women and confirm that hysterectomy is indicated in this setting only rarely.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pelvis
  • Urethral Diseases / diagnosis*