Current Research Projects

Men's Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome and Prostatitis

Mr Arthur Sone-Wai Li (PhD Candidate), Dr Mandy Matthewson and Dr Leesa Van Niekerk – College of Health and Medicine, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Tasmania.

This project aims to investigate what barriers (e.g. accessing health professionals, feelings or thinking patterns) men living with pelvic pain experience and how these barriers influence their pain experience and mental health.

Chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) is a common urologic/pelvic pain condition in men. Symptoms of CP/CPPS may include pain in the pelvic area, urinary difficulties, or sexual dysfunction, which disturb almost all aspects of men’s life, causing emotional, social and/or interpersonal challenges. Despite being common, men’s pelvic pain syndrome is still not well understood. In particular, it is unclear what barriers block them from improving. These barriers can be physical, cognitive, emotional, social or environment.

We would like to invite men who experience pain in the pelvic area or prostatitis-like symptoms (urinary or sexual difficulties), aged 18 years or older, to participate in this study. If that sounds like you and you would like to be involved, you can answer this online survey available at This survey may take 15-20 mins to complete.

You can find more information at

If you have any questions, you can contact Mr Arthur Sone-Wai Li (

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

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.

Testing the validity of the Pelvic Pain Psychological Screening Questionnaire in people with persistent pelvic pain

Looking for people with pelvic pain!

Researchers at Curtin University are testing a new questionnaire for people experiencing ongoing pelvic pain.

Do you have pelvic pain, are you over 18 and do you have 25 minutes to complete an online survey? By completing the survey, you will be helping health care professionals understand how you feel when you are in pain.

There is also a chance to win an Amazon voucher by participating in the survey.

The survey is available online at:

This study has been approved by the Curtin University Human Research Ethics (HREC) (approval number: HRE2020-0302).

Testing the validity of the Pelvic Pain Psychological Screening Questionnaire in people with persistent pelvic pain

We are looking for 40 women to help us test whether hypnosis might help with their chronic pelvic pain. Numbers are limited to the first 40 women who volunteer. It would normally be $1500 or more to access this with a psychologist!

We are looking for 20 women to volunteer to test our online hypnosis therapy and 20 controls that will get access to all the materials after 8 weeks. In order to participate, you must be over 18 and have had pelvic pain for over three months. Your pelvic pain could be due to a diagnosed cause or no cause at all. The study will go for 8 weeks and involve filling in progress measures and listening to a hypnosis recording each week. The materials are all provided online and participation is voluntary.

If you are interested, please contact us using the following email address for more information:

This study is part of a PhD project at the University of South Australia. This project has been approved by the University of South Australia Human Research Ethics Committee (Application ID 202935)