Our approach to pain management during gynecologic procedures

The OHSU Center for Women’s Health and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology recognize that gynecologic pain has unique challenges. Across the country, studies show that clinicians often dismiss, overlook or underestimate gynecologic pain reported by patients. As a result, patients may delay or avoid seeking care altogether. We believe pain should never be a barrier to getting the care you need. Below is our commitment to you.   

While in our care, you have the right to:

  • Respectful recognition of your needs and wishes in a welcoming and shame-free space.  
  • A trusting relationship with your care team, where you feel safe and heard.  
  • The option to stop any exam or procedure at any time, without judgment.  
  • A trauma-informed approach to your care, from a team that understands how the physical and emotional impact of trauma can surface in a medical setting. 
  • Pain management options for gynecologic exams and procedures. Some you can request at any visit, without advance notice. Others require preparation and planning. Options include: 
    • ​​​​​In-clinic pain management, without the need to schedule ahead
    • Comfort measures, such as heating pads or lighting changes  
    • Ibuprofen or other non-opiate pain relief
    • Numbing gels or blocks
    • Pre-scheduled pain management, available at different levels. You will need a pre-procedure visit and a ride home.
      • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Minimal sedation. You take a single medicine to lower pain or help you relax, but you remain awake.
      • Moderate sedation. You receive a pain medication and an anxiety medication in the sedation clinic or operating room. You may feel drowsy, but you can awaken when spoken to.
      • ​​​​​​​Deep sedation. You remain asleep in the operating room for the entire procedure.    

Each person experiences pain differently. Based on your medical history and your feedback, your care team may recommend one option over another. Some options may not be available depending on your medical conditions. Please ask questions if you have concerns about pain control.