Gynaecological care of women with chronic pelvic pain: Patient perspectives and care preferences

Whitney Trotter Ross, Bethany Snyder, Heather Stuckey, Ian R. Ross, Jennifer McCall-Hosenfeld, Gerald J. Harkins, Carly P. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To explore the experiences and care preferences of women with chronic pelvic pain, with or without a history of sexual trauma, seeking gynaecological care. Design: Qualitative study. Setting: Ambulatory endometriosis centre. Population or Sample: Women aged 18–55 years with chronic pelvic pain. Methods: Baseline demographics and sexual trauma history were obtained, and participants were assigned to focus groups according to a positive (four groups, 13 participants) or negative (two groups, nine participants) screen for a history of sexual trauma. The focus groups were led by a clinical psychologist and a gynaecological surgeon and consisted of semi-structured interviews. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed, and the transcripts were coded in NVivo 12. Main outcome measures: Content analysis was used to derive themes according to the participants' own words. Results: Participants with chronic pelvic pain, with or without a history of sexual trauma, experienced delay in diagnosis and repetitive dismissals by clinicians. Participants' experiences of dismissals included: clinicians not listening, insufficient allocation of time to appointments and perceived redundant medical testing (i.e. sexually transmitted infection testing, urine cultures, ultrasounds). Participants identified clinician interactions as pivotal in coping with both pelvic pain and sexual abuse. Participants also provided feedback regarding trauma-informed practices and care delivery specific to patients with chronic pelvic pain. Conclusion: Patients with chronic pelvic pain, with or without a history of sexual trauma, report negative experiences when interacting with the healthcare system. They have clear needs and preferences regarding gynaecological care and provide feasible suggestions for improving care delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-484
Number of pages9
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Volume130
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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