Our Current Research Projects


There is still so much to learn about Pelvic Pain and our team at Pelvic Pain SA are actively involved in Research. Research allows us to look carefully at how we diagnose and manage pelvic pain problems and learn more about how to manage pain well.

We are very grateful for the assistance many of our patients give our research projects. Often there is no benefit to those involved themselves, but their generosity helps us make real progress to improve the health of girls and women in the future.

Our past and current research projects include:


MicroRNAs as a diagnostic tool for Endometriosis

We hope to help work towards a blood test to diagnose endometriosis. Such a test may help diagnose endometriosis earlier and avoid unnecessary surgery in those without the condition.

 

Researchers: Dr Louise Hull (Gynaecologist), Dr Vicki Nisenblat (University Adelaide), Dr Johnathan McGuane (University Adelaide), Dr Susan Evans
Research institution: We are working with the Endometriosis Research Group at University of Adelaide
Why we are doing this research? We hope to find a way to diagnose endometriosis with a blood test, rather than surgery. This would avoid the need for surgery in some women and hopefully make it easier to diagnose endometriosis earlier when treatment may be more effective.
Who can be involved? Any of our patients who are having a laparoscopy for endometriosis and are not currently using any form of hormonal medication, such as the oral contraceptive pill, a mirena iucd or implanon.
What would I need to do? If you would like to be involved, are having a laparoscopy with us, and are not on any form of hormonal treatment, then we may ask you if we can take a blood test and a small sample of the lining of the uterus at your operation. This lining of the uterus is the tissue that bleeds away during a period and then grows again next month.

Chronic pelvic pain: development over time, link to childhood pain, and associated symptoms

We’d like to know more about how pain starts, and the type of problems that women with pelvic pain have.

 

Researchers: Ms Gemma Hardi (Flinders University), Dr Susan Evans, Dr Meredith Craigie (Pain Medicine Physician)

Research institution: We are working with Flinders University Medical School

Why we are doing this research? We believe that many women have pain for years before the causes are found and managed. While period pain may be the commonest type of pain we see, many of our patients have other problems too. Many had pain problems as a child.

We hope to gather information to see if this is correct. By learning more about pelvic pain, it may be possible to diagnose it earlier, and manage pelvic pain in girls and women more effectively.

Who can be involved? Any women over the age of 18 who come to see Dr Evans with pelvic pain.

What would I need to do? All women who come to see Dr Evans are asked to fill in a questionnaire about their pain before they come (the pink sheets). It is part of our normal patient care. If you are happy to allow Ms Gemma Hardi to use the information in the questionnaire (after the sheet with your name has been removed) for our study, then you only need to sign the consent form sent out to you with the pink forms.

Dr Evans will not know if you have agreed to have the information used or not, so you will not be treated differently in any way, whichever you decide. Ms Hardi will not know your name or other identifying information so your privacy is assured.

Best practice management of pelvic muscle pain: an audit of clinical practice

We think that pain from pelvic muscles is an important part of pelvic pain and would like to know more about how to manage it. We are looking back at the women we have seen with this problem already to look at which types of treatment have helped them the most.

 

Researchers: Ms Lauren Locke (Curtin University), Dr Patricia Neumann (Physiotherapist), Ms Sonia Scharfbillig (Physiotherapist), Dr Susan Evans.

Research Institution: We are working with Curtin University Physiotherapy Department

Why we are doing this research?  Pelvic muscle pain has only recently been recognised as a major cause of pelvic pain. There is still a lot to learn about the best way to treat painful pelvic muscles. This project will help us to understand the problem better and to improve our treatment.

Who can be involved? Women with pelvic muscle pain

What would I have to do?  All women who come to see Dr Evans are asked to fill in a questionnaire about their pain before they come (the pink sheets). It is part of our normal patient care. If you are diagnosed with pelvic muscle pain, and physiotherapy or Botox injections are recommended as treatment, you will be asked to fill in four other questionnaires. These are also part of our normal patient care for women with this type of pain. You will be asked to fill them in again a few months later to see how effective these treatments have been for you. If you are happy to allow Ms Lauren Locke to use the information in the questionnaires (after the sheet with your name has been removed) for our audit, then you only need to sign the consent form provided with the additional questionnaires.

Dr Evans will not know if you have agreed to have the information used or not, so you will not be treated differently in any way, whichever you decide. Ms Locke will not know your name or other identifying information so your privacy is assured.

Pelvic Pain and the Family

An online study looking at whether family and other close relationships affect the experience of women with persistent pelvic pain.

Ms Tiffany Brooks, Psychologist, Mildura, and University of Adelaide.
Tiffany is studying the impact of pelvic pain on the family of those affected. Her Masters thesis has been awarded the Australian Psychological Society Health Psychology Award, and was presented at the Australian Pain Society meeting in April 2015.

Provoked vestibulodynia: complex regional pain syndrome of the vulval vestibule?

Ms Jane Bowering, Physiotherapist and PhD Candidate University South Australia

Jane Bowering close up photo 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.

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!

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.

The Language of Pelvic Pain

Yudhish is a Resident Medical Officer at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, researching the language of pelvic pain.

His supervisors are Dr Susan Evans and Professor Roly Sussex.

More information to come!

Anxiety and Depression in Women with Pelvic Pain

 

Ms Tiffany Brooks is currently undergoing research in this area. Her supervisors are Dr Susan Evans and Professor Adrian Estermann.

There will be more details soon!