Musculoskeletal causes of chronic pelvic pain: what a gynecologist should know

Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Mar;121(3):645-650. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e318283ffea.


Ten percent of all gynecologic consultations are for chronic pelvic pain, and 20% of patients require a laparoscopy. Chronic pelvic pain affects 15% of all women annually in the United States, with medical costs and loss of productivity estimated at $2.8 billion and $15 billion per year, respectively. Chronic pelvic pain in women may have multifactorial etiology, but 22% have pain associated with musculoskeletal causes. Unfortunately, pelvic musculoskeletal dysfunction is not routinely evaluated as a cause of pelvic pain by gynecologists. A pelvic musculoskeletal examination is simple to perform, is not time-consuming, and is one of the most important components to investigate in all chronic pelvic pain patients. This article describes common musculoskeletal causes of chronic pelvic pain and explains how to perform a simple musculoskeletal examination that can be easily incorporated into the gynecologist physical examination.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Gynecological Examination / methods*
  • Gynecology / methods
  • Humans
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / complications*
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Pelvic Floor / anatomy & histology
  • Pelvic Floor / physiology
  • Pelvic Pain / diagnosis
  • Pelvic Pain / etiology*
  • Spasm / complications
  • Spasm / diagnosis
  • Spasm / physiopathology