Functional imaging of a cramp.
Our goal is to identify the mechanisms that cause pelvic pain and prevent the development of chronic pain.
A 35 year old businesswoman gradually develops severe abdominal pain, without features suggesting a life-threatening cause. She suffers for seven years while surgeon after surgeon attempts to treat her pain using “state of the art” surgical approaches to remove ovarian cysts, then intra-abdominal scar tissue, and finally her uterus and both ovaries. Still in significant pain, she nearly becomes suicidal when the surgeons tell her the “pain is all in her head.” Exhausted, often unable to sleep, and depressed, she declines to take on a long-deserved promotion at work, and increasingly finds herself forced to avoid social activities with friends and family. A close friend who has suffered from chronic migraines suggests that the businesswoman see her own integrative pain physician. After evaluating her, the clinical team starts her on a central nervous system modulating drug and introduces her into a program of meditation. Six months later, she finds the pain has markedly improved, although she still has many of the other problems, including fatigue, hot flashes from losing her ovaries, and a persistent feeling like she has a bladder infection. The clinical vignette above illustrates the motivation driving Drs. Hellman and Tu in their search for mechanisms, diagnostics, and effective treatments for CPP.
Further research is needed to diagnose, treat and prevent chronic pelvic pain syndromes
The causes of visceral pain are poorly understood because diagnostic tests do not exist to separate out pain due to primary nociceptor activation, referred abdominal muscular activity, organ perfusion, or oxygenation issues. Development of effective treatments for disruptive chronic pelvic pain conditions like dysmenorrhea and painful bladder syndrome are hindered by this lack of mechanistic understanding. Our lab's goal is to address this gap and work to develop superior treatment mechanisms.
The Translational Laboratory for Pelvic Pain is directed by:
Remedies for the Monthly Hurt?
Come help us find a way to
Stop the CRAMPP!
WHO: Women ages 18-45 who experience dysmenorrhea (painful periods) or women without cramps to be healthy controls (and want to help their friends out). We are also recruiting some women with painful bladder syndrome (PBS).
WHERE: Department of Gynecology at Evanston Hospital. Located just off the Central CTA Purple Line Stop.
WHAT: Two visits. One screening visit including a gynecological exam and questionnaires and a second visit about a month later examining how sensitive you are to pressure on your muscles, cold water and using EKG, EMG, and ultrasound. Participants are required to abstain from using hormonal contraception for 6-8 weeks.
For more information about this project please contact us at (847) 570-2622
and refer to the CRAMPP Study to complete a phone screen.
$175-$200 compensation will be provided. Some participants with painful periods and PBS will be asked to continue on into an optional second phase of the study, which involves 2 additional assessment visits and a 1 year trial of free birth control pills. Participants in phase 2 will be compensated an additional $500.