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Prevalence and correlates of three types of pelvic pain in a nationally representative sample of Australian women

Marian K Pitts, Jason A Ferris, Anthony M Smith, Julia M Shelley and Juliet Richters
Med J Aust 2009; 190 (1): 47-48.
Published online: 5 January 2009

In reply: We are pleased to see our article about chronic pelvic pain in Australian women has provoked interest.1 Black’s suggestion that virtually every normal physiological event that occurs within a woman’s pelvis is associated with pain is surprising, and not supported by our evidence. Of the women in our sample, 23% were totally pain free, and most of the chronic pelvic pain reported was mild. A parallel study showed that men also suffered chronic pelvic pain — a smaller proportion than women, but still significant.2 We are not medicalising normal events; rather, we are alerting general practitioners to the normal range of pelvic pain experience to help them assess its clinical significance. A GP who says to a female patient “it’s normal, love, just grin and bear it” denies the psychosocial complexity of her experience.

  • Marian K Pitts1
  • Jason A Ferris1
  • Anthony M Smith1
  • Julia M Shelley1
  • Juliet Richters2

  • 1 Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: m.pitts@latrobe.edu.au

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