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Obstet Gynecol. 1990 Jul;76(1):92-6.

History of physical and sexual abuse in women with chronic pelvic pain.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, Los Angeles.


The history of physical and sexual abuse in childhood and adulthood was assessed in 31 women with chronic pelvic pain, 142 women with chronic pain in other locations, and 32 controls. Thirty-nine percent of patients with chronic pelvic pain had been physically abused in childhood. This percentage was significantly greater than that observed in other chronic-pain patients (18.4%) or controls (9.4%), though the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse did not differ among the groups (19.4, 16.3, and 12.5%, respectively). Abuse in adulthood was less common and was not significantly more likely to have occurred in patients with chronic pelvic pain than in other chronic-pain patients or controls. These data suggest that pelvic pain is unlikely to be specifically and psychodynamically related to sexual abuse but that the pernicious nature of abuse, whether physical or sexual, may promote the chronicity of painful conditions.

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