Psychological therapies for chronic pelvic pain: systematic review of randomized controlled trials

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Abstract

Chronic pelvic pain (CPP), a common cause of disability in women, is a condition best viewed in the biopsychosocial framework. Psychological interventions are frequently considered alongside medical and surgical treatments. Our objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of psychological therapies for the treatment of CPP. Electronic literature searches were conducted in Medline, Embase, PsycInfo and DARE databases from database inception to April 2010. Reference lists of selected articles were searched for further articles. The studies selected were randomized controlled trials of psychological therapies in patients with CPP compared with no treatment, standard gynecological treatment or another form of psychological therapy. Two reviewers independently selected articles without language restrictions and extracted data covering study characteristics, study quality and results. Reduction in pain, measured using visual analog scales or other measurements, was the main outcome measure. Of the 107 citations identified, four studies satisfied the inclusion criteria. Compared with no psychological intervention, therapy produced a standardized mean pain score of –3.27 [95% confidence interval (CI) –4.52 to –2.02] and 1.11 (95% CI –0.05 to 2.27) at 3 months and –3.95 (95% CI –5.35 to –2.55) and 0.54 (95% CI –0.78 to 1.86) at 6 months and greater, based on a visual analog scale score of 0–10. The current evidence does not allow us to conclude whether psychological interventions have an effect on self-reported pain scores in women with CPP.

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