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Can pelvic pain affect my emotional well-being?

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The relationship between pelvic pain and emotional health is complex.1 Many women with long-lasting pelvic pain also have depression or anxiety, but how these conditions are linked is not well understood. For instance, long-lasting pain can lead to depression, but depression also can cause pain or make existing pain worse.2 Women with pelvic pain also have higher rates of having a history of sexual or physical abuse.3 Ongoing pelvic pain also can contribute to sleep problems, sexual problems, relationship stress, and problems at work and at home.1

All these factors can play a role in how a woman feels pain, in her emotional wellness, and in her quality of life.1 Learning healthy ways to cope with pain is an important aspect of treatment.


  1. International Pelvic Pain Society. (2005). Chronic pelvic pain: A patient education booklet. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from http://pelvicpain.org/docs/patients/Patient-Education-Brochure.aspx External Web Site Policy (PDF - 1.8 MB) [top]
  2. UCSF Medical Center. (2012). Pelvic pain. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from http://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/pelvic_pain External Web Site Policy [top]
  3. Walling, M. K., Reiter, R. C., O'Hara, M. W., Milburn, A. K., Lilly, G., & Vincent, S. D. (1994). Abuse history and chronic pain in women: I. Prevalences of sexual abuse and physical abuse. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 84, 193–199. [top]

Last Updated Date: 11/30/2012
Last Reviewed Date: 04/12/2013
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