Centering for Chronic Pelvic Pain Pilot Study

Development and evaluation of group-based, integrative medicine visits for chronic pelvic pain

CenteringCPP_100x100Chronic pelvic pain, defined as pain in the pelvis lasting at least six months, is one of the most common medical problems among women. It severely impacts quality of life and is associated with increased anxiety and depression, impaired functional activities, and sexual dysfunction. Standard treatments for chronic pelvic pain – analgesics, hormonal therapy, and surgery – have limited long-term effectiveness and numerous potential side effects.

Clinical recommendations for treating chronic pelvic pain underscore the important role of a multidisciplinary, integrative approach centered on improving patients’ quality of life as a primary goal. However, various barriers – such as the time constraints, cost and the logistical challenges of providing patient education and psychosocial support – impede the feasibility of offering comprehensive care for most chronic pelvic pain patients during a standard medical visit. Models for effective management of chronic pelvic pain are needed, particularly for low-income and minority women who have limited access to quality care and are undertreated for pain.

Group medical visits combine quality healthcare with educational support in a collective setting. They have been shown to improve disease self-management and quality of life among patients with a range of chronic conditions. To our knowledge, group medical visits have yet to be implemented for the management of chronic pelvic pain. The objective of this study is to develop group medical visits for women with chronic pelvic pain drawing from two interdisciplinary models of care:

  1. the Centering model, which is an innovative approach to group-based healthcare across the lifecourse that has been adapted to manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes; and
  2. integrative medicine, which emphasizes quality of life through patient-centered care and is frequently sought for chronic pain conditions.

Curriculum for ten sessions of Centering for Chronic Pelvic Pain (Centering CPP) will be developed and piloted among women diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain. Study participants will be recruited from the Women’s Health Centers at the San Francisco General Hospital, an urban safety net hospital, and at UCSF Mt. Zion Hospital. The long-term goal of this research is to develop an evidence-based, integrative approach to chronic pelvic pain focused on improving quality of life that is scalable to women’s health centers, particularly in safety net settings.

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