From Our 2009 Archives
LUNA No Help for Pelvic Pain
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Nerve-Severing Procedure Gives Women No Relief From Chronic Pelvic Pain
Daniel J. DeNoon
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
Long-lasting pelvic pain is a big problem for women. Some causes of chronic pelvic pain can be diagnosed and treated:
About one in seven women experiences chronic pelvic pain, but many cases can't be directly traced to these conditions or cured by their treatment. The pain often comes during menstruation (dysmenorrhea), between menses (noncyclical pain), or during sex (dyspareunia).
When they can't find or treat the cause of the pain, doctors have tried to
treat the pain itself
Does it work? That's been controversial. But now there's been a major study of nearly 500 women with chronic pelvic pain lasting more than six months at 18 U.K. hospitals.
Women with chronic pelvic pain usually undergo laparoscopic examination in
which a small tube is inserted into the pelvic region. Women in the study
agreed to undergo LUNA
Researchers evaluated the women's pain from three months to five years later.
The bottom line: "LUNA did not alleviate any type of pain ... or improve quality of life," report Jane Daniels, MSc, of Birmingham Women's Hospital, and colleagues.
So why have some doctors thought LUNA was successful? Daniels and colleagues found that three months after undergoing the procedure, women said they felt less pain -- regardless of whether they received LUNA or not.
Unfortunately, although the findings will spare many women an unnecessary procedure, they leave women with no definitive treatment for a very real medical problem capable of disrupting lives and relationships.
Daniels and colleagues report the study results in the Sept. 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
SOURCES: Daniels, J. Journal of the American Medical Association, Sept. 2, 2009; vol 302: pp 955-961.
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