RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Distension of painful structures in the treatment for chronic pelvic pain in women.

BACKGROUND: There is a lack of established treatment for Chronic pelvic pain (CPP), defined as acyclic pain of at least six months duration. We decided to study the pain-alleviating effects of stretching on defined structures in women with CPP, and the treatment's impact on quality of life variables.

DESIGN OF STUDY: An open, randomized study.

SETTING: Primary Health Care Centre, Kolbäck, Sweden.

METHODS: Fifty women, median age 33 years (range 19-54), complaining of CPP for a median duration of 25.5 months (range 6-264) were randomly assigned to either a treatment or a control group. A short questionnaire containing 17 questions was administered before randomization and two to three weeks after a second treatment of distension of pelvic structures. Visual analog scales were used for questions concerning intensity of pain and quality of life. Five-point scales were used for questions dealing with duration and frequency of pain.

RESULTS: Intensity, frequency and duration of pelvic pain, painful intercourse, lower back pain, sleep disturbance, sleep quality, mental fatigue, depression, mood and anger improved significantly more in the treatment group than in the control group. Treatment proved more effective than counseling as reflected by self-rating scales: pain intensity (OR 18.37, 95% CI 3.39-99.64) and pain during intercourse (OR 8.59, 95% CI 1.57-46.68).

CONCLUSION: In this open, randomized study, distension of painful pelvic structures in women with CPP resulted in significant relief of pain and improvement in quality of life measures.

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