Background: Chronic pelvic pain (CPP), defined as a noncyclical pain lasting for more than 6 months can lead to lower physical performance and quality of life in women. CPP is a worldwide problem affecting women of all ages. However, health care professionals and researchers, due to its complex nature and the lack of knowledge surrounding the condition, frequently neglect CPP. Subsequently, basic data and knowledge regarding CPP remain incomplete.
Objective: To update the review of the worldwide estimation of the CPP prevalence considering the World Health Organization systematic review by Latthe et al in 2006 as point of departure.
Study design: A systematic review of CPP prevalence studies.
Method: Electronic search was performed to find related articles through PubMed between 2005 and 2012 based on the PRISMA statement (2009).
Results: From 140 studies, only 7 studies were about CPP prevalence. Their study design consisted of 3 cross sectional studies, one population based mailing questionnaire study, one survey study (computer assisted telephone interview), one data analysis by questionnaire, and one prospective community based study.
Limitations: Paucity of population based studies in addition to probability of existence of studies at the local level with limited access to worldwide databases, lack of consensus about definition of CPP among researchers and therapists, and non-inclusion of CPP related key words in databases such as PubMed.
Conclusion: Based on these articles, prevalence in general ranged between 5.7% and 26.6%. There were many countries and regions without basic data in the field of CPP. This review shows the paucity of studies, especially multidisciplinary researches with multifactorial views on CPP. Multidisciplinary studies would provide more reliable data for estimating the prevalence of CPP and its psycho-socioeconomic burden, as well as finding its etiologies and characteristics. This would be the first step towards better treatment and care for women with CPP.