When pain is a problem
UF study shows women often don’t report pelvic pain to doctors
By April Frawley
Although many women experience pelvic pain in their late teens and early 20s, a new UF Health study indicates that only a small fraction of these women report their symptoms to their doctors and seek treatment, leaving some health problems unresolved.
Up to 72 percent of the women who responded to the survey reported experiencing pelvic pain in the past year, yet nearly three-quarters of them did not seek treatment from a physician. The study was published in the November issue of the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology and was presented at the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons meeting in August.
Almost 80 percent of respondents had reported painful periods, nearly one-third reported painful sexual encounters and one-fifth reported pain in external genitalia. Some of the reasons women reported not talking to their doctors about the pain included embarrassment, difficulty with insurance or making appointments, or a lack of empathy and understanding from physicians.
“But a big part of the problem is that women often don’t realize their pain is abnormal,” said Moawad, the director of the Center of Excellence for Minimally Invasive Gynecology at UF Health. “Some women thought their pain was normal. They think that is how periods are supposed to be. But if you are missing days from school or work or have to cancel activities, that is striking. No pain should ever be that severe. If a woman has to take narcotics for pain, or if she has had to drop out of classes, that is not normal. She should see a physician.”