The Underestimated Prevalence of Neglected Chronic Pelvic Pain in Women, a Nationwide Cross-Sectional Study in France

J Clin Med. 2021 Jun 3;10(11):2481. doi: 10.3390/jcm10112481.


Dysmenorrhoea, dyspareunia, and non-menstrual chronic pelvic pain (NMCPP) are symptoms that are probably underreported and neglected. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and overlapping relations between these symptoms among a general population of French women of reproductive age. A cross-sectional study among the nationwide CONSTANCES cohort study recruiting a representative sample of women within different French areas was constructed. Women aged 18-49 years (n = 21,287) who reported periods in the previous three months and experienced intercourse at least once were asked about prevalence of three types of chronic pelvic pain: mild, moderate and severe dysmenorrhea; dyspareunia assessed according to its frequency; NMCPP from a binary question. Between the start of 2012 through the end of 2017, 21,287 women were enrolled, 39.8% of them (95% confidence interval (CI), 39.2-40.5) reported moderate to severe dysmenorrhea; 20.3% (95% CI, 18.7-21.9) of the youngest group (18-24 years) reported severe dysmenorrhea. Dyspareunia was reported to happen often or always by 7.9% (95% CI, 7.5-8.2) and peaked among the youngest women at 12.8% (95% CI, 11.5-14.1). NMCPP was reported by 17.0% (95% CI, 16.5-17.5). Moreover, 7.5% (95% CI, 6.4-8.6) of the women reported two or more types of severe or frequent pain. More attention should be paid to this substantial proportion (7.5%) of French women of reproductive age who experience multiple, severe and frequent pelvic pain symptoms.

Keywords: chronic pelvic pain; dysmenorrhea; dyspareunia; non-menstrual chronic pelvic pain; women’s health.