About IPPS...

Professionals Engaged in Pain Management for People of All Gender Identities

In 1995 a group of physicians met to discuss their common interest in addressing a gap in chronic pelvic pain research, diagnostics, support and treatment. After two years, the International Pelvic Pain Society (IPPS) was incorporated to serve as a forum for professional and public education.  Since then, the IPPS has grown to include gynecologists, urologists, gastroenterologists, PM&R physicians, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, social workers and other health professionals committed to a biopsychosocial and interdisciplinary approach to the treatment of conditions associated with chronic pelvic pain.

Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) negatively affects millions of people across the gender identity spectrum throughout the world.  CPP can impact a person’s physical, emotional, social and material well-being.  There are many biopsychosocial contributors to pelvic pain and healthcare providers need special skills in physical examination and history taking in order to better evaluate and treat patients with this type of pain.  Often, conventional medical and surgical treatments are ineffective, however, a range of new medical, surgical and mind-body therapies are available to help improve the lives of individuals living with CPP.

Please join us in our mission to provide the highest standard of care for individuals across the gender spectrum who are living with chronic pelvic pain.  With your help, we can continue to advance access to quality care and work with patients to support them with their health-related goals.

In addition to promoting excellence in care IPPS, members receive additional benefits including a quarterly newsletter, regular research updates, annual meeting discounts, access to a network of providers and other benefits designed to enhance education, practice and research.

Our primary goal is to recruit, organize and educate healthcare professionals actively involved in the treatment of patients who have chronic pelvic pain.  To achieve this goal, our society:

  • Serves as an educational resource for health care professionals and patients
  • Promotes multi-disciplinary and biopsychosocial approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of CPP
  • Promotes research and dissemination of research findings

An interdisciplinary approach to chronic pelvic pain management is better

May 20, 2020

An INTERDISCIPLINARY approach to chronic pelvic pain management IS BETTER.

What is interdisciplinary?

An INTERDISCIPLINARY approach to chronic pelvic pain management IS BETTER.
What is interdisciplinary?

By: Jorge F. Carrillo MD, FACOG, IPPS Board Member

Chronic pelvic pain is usually a multifactorial problem that can be caused by the complex interaction of gynecological, gastrointestinal, urological, musculoskeletal, neurological and psychosocial conditions among others.1,2 Furthermore, pain in general has been described as a biopsychosocial phenomenon in which an interaction occurs between biological factors (such as physiological or anatomical alterations), psychological factors (such as beliefs, attitudes, affectivity and illness behavior) and social factors (such as culture, social interactions or work for example).3

With this model in mind the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released in 2019 a document titled “Pain management best practices inter-agency task force report. Updates, gaps, inconsistencies, and recommendations.”4 This document was released to guide federal agencies, private stakeholders, and the public at large through common gaps identified in the treatment of pain patients. The recommendations encourage providers, policymakers, legislators, regulators, and patients to adopt a biopsychosocial approach to pain management. A very important point brought up in this document was that using a multidisciplinary management approach, in a coordinated and integrated fashion, has been documented to reduce pain severity, improve mood and overall quality of life, and increase function. 4

As part of identifying treatment approaches, it is important to discuss basic concepts and definitions. Per the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP):
1. A multimodal treatment generally refers to multiple therapies combined, these not necessarily offered by different healthcare professionals.
2. A multidisciplinary approach refers to the addition of the competencies of multiple professionals who stay within the boundaries of their fields, without necessarily communicating amongst them, and
3. An interdisciplinary treatment denotes that various disciplines are coordinated toward a common and coherent approach.5

The benefits of using a multidisciplinary approach with a shared decision-making model have been studied in patients with conditions such as chronic low back pain, TMJ, fibromyalgia, chronic headache, neck pain in the USA and other countries (England, Denmark, Canada).6–9 Furthermore, there is research suggesting that an interdisciplinary approach is clinically superior and more cost-effective than a multidisciplinary alone.10 This could be due to lack of integration of the services involved with limited communication among providers found in a multidisciplinary approach. However, is clear that for chronic pain patients a multidisciplinary approach is better than unimodal and multimodal approaches alone, so it should be encouraged. There are few studies investigating the effect of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to chronic pelvic pain conditions, the results are promising, but we still need more research to make conclusive statements.2,11

For chronic pelvic pain patients, a comprehensive team should potentially include some or ideally all of the following healthcare providers: gynecologist, urologist, GI/colorectal specialist, physical therapist, behavioral therapist, physical medicine and rehab specialist, pharmacist, social worker, pain medicine/anesthesiologist, sex therapist, integrative medicine specialist and/or a dietician. If you are interested in expanding your network of chronic pelvic pain providers and potentially build a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary team, a list of pelvic pain specialists members of IPPS, organized by region, can be found at our website.12 This is a free resource for both IPPS members/non-members, and healthcare providers/patients.


1. Steege JF, Siedhoff MT. Clinical Expert Series Chronic Pelvic Pain. Obs Gynecol. 2014;124(3):616-629. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000000417
2. Allaire C, Williams C, Bodmer-Roy S, et al. Chronic pelvic pain in an interdisciplinary setting: 1-year prospective cohort. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2017.10.002
3. Gatchel RJ, Peng YB, Peters ML, Fuchs PN, Turk DC. The Biopsychosocial Approach to Chronic Pain: Scientific Advances and Future Directions. Psychol Bull. 2007;133(4):581-624. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.133.4.581
4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ITF. Executive Summary Pain Management Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force Report: Updates, Gaps, Inconsistencies, and Recommendations.; 2019. https://www.hhs.gov/ash/advisory-committees/pain/reports/index.html.
5. IASP. Task Force on Multimodal Pain Treatment Defines Terms for Chronic Pain Care. https://www.iasp-pain.org/PublicationsNews/NewsDetail.aspx?ItemNumber=6981. Published 2017. Accessed April 5, 2020.
6. Choi, B, Pak A. Multidisciplinarity, inter-disciplinarity and trans-disciplinarity in health research. Clin Investig Med. 2006. doi:10.1002/eji.201090065
7. Gatchel RJ, Okifuji A. Evidence-Based Scientific Data Documenting the Treatment and Cost-Effectiveness of Comprehensive Pain Programs for Chronic Nonmalignant Pain. J Pain. 2006. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2006.08.005
8. Giusti EM, Castelnuovo G, Molinari E. Differences in Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Treatment Programs for Fibromyalgia: A Mapping Review. Pain Res Manag. 2017. doi:10.1155/2017/7261468
9. Simmons JW, Avant WS, Demski J, Parisher D. Determining successful pain clinic treatment through validation of cost effectiveness. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1988. doi:10.1097/00007632-198803000-00020
10. Gatchel RJ, McGeary DD, McGeary CA, Lippe B. Interdisciplinary chronic pain management. Am Psychol. 2014;69(2):119-130. doi:10.1037/a0035514
11. Brotto LA, Yong P, Smith KB, Sadownik LA. Impact of a Multidisciplinary Vulvodynia Program on Sexual Functioning and Dyspareunia. J Sex Med. 2015. doi:10.1111/jsm.12718
12. IPPS. Find the provider. https://www.pelvicpain.org/IPPS/Professional/Find_A_Provider/IPPS/Content/Professional/Find_A_Provider.aspx?hkey=d783de9c-cc3a-4655-95c6-fd9da7a3fdf8. Accessed May 8, 2020.




IPPS' mission is focused on optimizing the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from chronic pelvic pain, and serving as an educational resource for health care professionals.

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2019 Recipients

Alexander Wang, MD
IPPS Resident Scholarship (300)

2017 Recipients

Sara R Till, MD, MPH
IPPS Research Development Grant (10,000)
Chensi Ouyang, MD
Fred Howard Early Investigator Award (2,000)
Charlotte Pham, DO
IPPS Resident Scholarship in Pelvic Pain Education
Jorge F. Carrillo, MD
IPPS ASPE Education Award

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Review application requirements and apply for membership. Learn about the benefits of becoming an International Pelvic Pain Society member. Download our International Pelvic Pain Society membership brochure to learn more.

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