The Language of Pelvic Pain

Have you ever found it difficult to communicate what your pelvic pain feels like to your health practitioner?

Maybe you were you one of the 1034 women who joined the Language of Pelvic Pain Survey? If so, thank you, thank you!


This link will take you to the video of Professor Roly Sussex presenting some of the very first findings from your study at the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia Health Practitioners Seminar. There’s lots more to come from this study, but this is an early peek.


Why did we do the study?

Communication is important in health care. Medicine works on pattern recognition. The person with pain describes what the pain feels like and if this description matches a known medical condition, it is easier to the health practitioner to diagnose.

We’re not sure that a language of pelvic pain was ever developed? Maybe women’s voices weren’t recorded and the descriptions that health practitioners rely on to help them diagnose pain weren’t taught? Could we improve communication in healthcare by learning more about language?


Who was involved?

Professor Roland Sussex, Emeritus Professor at the University of Queensland, Dr Susan Evans, Gynecologist and Pain Physician and Ms Ellie Schofield, Medical Student University of Adelaide asked women to describe their pain. What each pain feel like? What does period pain feel like? And what about vulval pain, bowel pain, bladder pain, sexual pain or other pelvic pains?

Over 1000 women In Australia and New Zealand generously and anonymously wrote down what their pain feels like.  They used around 300,000 words of text. This video describes the first findings from the study, with lots more to come. It’s exciting stuff!


Pelvic Pain and Language. A new way of helping women and health practitioners communicate.


This video is copyright Prof Roly Sussex and the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia,
It is made available through Creative Commons BY-NC-ND (