Current Research Projects

The Language of Pelvic Pain

Ms Ellie Schofield, Prof. Roly Sussex, Dr Susan Evans

As a woman with pelvic pain, have you ever felt that your health professional just didn’t understand how you described your pain?
As a health professional, have you been confused by the words your patients use to describe their pain?
We’d like to bring everyone together with a better knowledge of pelvic pain language. The words used by girls and women with pain, and the types of pain they describe. This research project asks girls and women to write about their pain: what it feels like and what it means to them. We’re then going to use exciting new computer software to analyse which words seem to fit with which pain experiences.
It’s a way of improving the way health professionals and women communicate.
We hope you’ll participate by answering some anonymous questions about your pain and then writing about your own, personal experience. The good bits, the bad bits and everything in between. The more you write, the more helpful it will be.
This is your opportunity to bridge the gap between women with pain and their health professionals.
Click on the ‘Participant information sheet‘ for information about the research project and how you can participate. Participant information sheet & consent.pdf
To go to the survey click on this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5CZS7WL

The Clinical Co-Morbidities of Endometriosis

Dr Susan Evans, PhD Candidate University Adelaide.

This project recognised that a woman’s experience of period pain may involve many more symptoms than just uterine cramps. Using information generously provided by women with period pain attending a pelvic pain clinic, it looked at how common other symptoms were: bowel symptoms, stabbing pains, bladder symptoms, food intolerance, fatigue, poor sleep, headache and migraine, anxiety, low mood, nausea, dizziness, sweating, pain with sexual activity and vulval pain. The research results were published in the Journal of Pain Research in December 2018. You can read the full paper by clicking on the link below.
To Summarise:
  • Only 0.6% of women had dysmenorrhea (period pain) alone. All other women had additional symptoms
  • Each woman had an average of 8.5 symptoms
  • Women with more severe dysmenorrhea tended to have more days per month of pain, were more likely to have migraine headaches, and were more likely to report stabbing pains.
  • Women with and without endometriosis had similar symptom profiles
  • Women with a history of distressing sexual events reported more pain symptoms than other women, but multiple symptoms were common in both groups

Thank you again to the many women who allowed us to use their information in the study.

Adelaide Pelvic Pain Study – (APP-Study)

Dr Susan Evans, PhD Candidate University Adelaide.

 

Why some women have severe period pain and others do not remains unknown.  This PhD investigates whether the presence of an inflammatory pain phenotype is present in young women with these problems.  If such a pathway can be proven, it offers the potential for new and more effective treatments for pelvic pain. It may also provide a way of determining which girls are most at risk, and in whom early intervention might reduce their risk of later developing chronic pain.

This research project has received grant funding from ANZCA’s Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine Foundation, through the Dr Russell Cole Memorial ANZCA Research Award, which was established to support a highly ranked pain related research project. Information about ANZCA’s Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine Foundation is available at

This project has completed enrolment, and we’re really grateful to the wonderful women of Adelaide who participated. We’ll have the results on the website, with notification on Facebook as soon as it’s published.

Pelvic Pain Impact Study

Jane Bowering (Chalmers), physiotherapist and PhD candidate has developed a Life Impact Questionnaire for Pelvic Pain which is soon to be published. This validated study looks broadly at the way Pelvic Pain changes the lives of those affected. It’s been developed by asking real women about their pain.

 

This study is complete and we’ll have news of the results very soon!

Inflammatory Pain Pathways in Endometriosis

Ms Kelsi Dodds, PhD Candidate, University Adelaide

 

Ms Kelsi Dodds is a Health Scientist, currently undertaking her PhD at the University of Adelaide. Her PhD investigates a role for the central nervous and immune systems in the development of endometriosis, a chronic inflammatory disease often associated with severe pelvic pain and infertility. These pathways will be studied in a mouse model, developed for this purpose.

 

It is widely acknowledged that inflammation can be initiated and maintained by nerves and immune cells in other pain conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, so this research will determine if similar cells are active in endometriosis and their potential to cause and maintain disease progression.

 

Kelsi has been awarded prestigious Grants4Targets funding through Bayer Pharmaceuticals to further research her innovative ideas on endometriosis and pain. Be prepared for a a totally new take on your pain.

 

Provoked vestibulodynia: Complex regional pain syndrome of the vulval vestibule?

Ms Jane Bowering, Physiotherapist and PhD Candidate University South Australia

 

This PhD investigates a theory that pelvic pain, and particularly provoked vestibulodynia (vulval pain) is a complex regional pain syndrome(CRPS) – like condition of the pelvis.

 

Our hope is through using CRPS paradigms, we will discover more about the cause, development and course of Provoked Vestibulodynia. In particular, we will investigate the inflammatory properties of this condition.

 

This project is currently enrolling participants, and there are loads of benefits in being involved.

 

If you live in Adelaide and have vulval pain, we’ll have a link up soon.