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Medical cannabis and its role in female pelvic pain

Female pelvic pain affects thousands of women but still gets misdiagnosed and is often overlooked, say experts.



female pelvic pain
The female uterus has a high concentration of endocannabinoid receptors


Female pelvic pain affects thousands of women but still gets misdiagnosed and is very often overlooked, say experts at Integro Medical Clinics.

Dr Sally Ghazaleh, an NHS pain consultant and women’s health expert at Integro Clinics, sees countless women, who have been misdiagnosed, not taken seriously and in some cases even ridiculed by their GP’s and doctors, who have not taken their claims of chronic and sometimes excruciating pelvic pain seriously.

“In my practice, I have seen women who have suffered from chronic pelvic pain continuously over the years. They have tried multiple medications and undergone different specialist treatments to reduce the pain all to no avail. 

“In fact, not only were some of the traditional approaches ineffective but the drugs such as opioids and anti- neuropathic medicines had very unpleasant side effects.”

The silent epidemic of pelvic pain

What is pelvic pain? And given the thousands of women who experience it, why is it such a silent epidemic? 

Female pelvic pain is a coverall term that can range from chronic low level up to agonising pain felt by women that arises from the pelvic area.

It can be responsible not only for chronic suffering but also for notable disability. If resulting from nerve pain it may appear idiopathic or it can relate to a specific condition such as vulvodynia, painful bladder syndrome, myofascial pain resulting from muscle spasms in the pelvic floor – which can refer to pain in the stomach, back and trigger points – or endometriosis.

“It is a fact that women experience more intense and long-lasting pain complaints than men, even for conditions occurring with similar frequency in the two sexes,” says Dr Ghazaleh.

“Lack of knowledge by GP’s and perhaps being met with skepticism, feeling rejected, ignored, lack of comprehension and stigma towards women’s health contributes to women’s pain.

“Symptoms are frequently not diagnosed or go untreated for a long time.  This results in women left suffering not only with chronic pain but also the huge psychological impact of this on them and their family.”

The role of the endocannabinoid system

Pelvic pain mechanisms are complex, interconnected and can be divided into three main categories of pain: the nociceptive, the inflammatory, and the neuropathic pain.

The current pain management strategies for pelvic pain focus mainly on medical treatments such as hormonal therapy, painkillers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and/or surgical resection.

The growing understanding of how new drugs such as cannabis medicines can help is very exciting in relation to this field. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is figuring lately as an important factor in pain mechanisms. The is because the female uterus has a high concentration of endocannabinoid receptors.

Dr Ghazaleh explains: “As a last hope to reduce their pain some women give medical cannabis a try and many found that it could help them live a normal life after years of suffering. Patients stated that as well as reducing pain, they felt that medical cannabis considerably decreased gastrointestinal symptoms, sleep problems, feelings of depression and anxiety. Most importantly an appreciable number reported they were able to reduce some of their traditional medication.

She adds: “It goes without saying, that although I have seen positive results using medical cannabis for women’s pelvic conditions additional research is urgently required to assess the effectiveness of quality-controlled medicinal cannabis for this area.

“It’s a very exciting time to be involved in this field of medicine. We are only just starting to understand the full workings of the human endocannabinoid system and what a greater understanding of terpenes and the molecular potential of cannabis medicines can bring us.”

Integro Medical Clinics Ltd always recommends remaining under the care and treatment of your GP and specialist for your condition, while using cannabis-based medicines, and the Integro clinical team would always prefer to work in collaboration with them.

For more information visit or contact Integro Clinics vis email:  or Twitter: @clinicsintegro

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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