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Chronic pelvic pain and mental health

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Women Veterans

Chronic pelvic pain and mental health

Chronic pain of any kind can increase depression and anxiety. More than 18% of women Veterans who receive VA health care are diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain. The percentage is even higher among women who have experienced military sexual trauma.

Many women reduce activities they would otherwise enjoy or find meaningful because of the pain. In particular, pelvic pain can interfere with intimate relationships.

Medical and gynecological exams sometimes reveal the causes of chronic pelvic pain, but sometimes no specific cause is found, which can increase women’s feelings of frustration, anxiety, depression and hopelessness. Psychological counseling can teach people to manage and reduce the emotional toll of chronic pain so they can improve their quality of life.

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