Purpose of review: All Pubmed-listed articles generated by the search terms 'pelvic' and 'pain' from the year 2004 (plus or minus 6 months) were examined for relevance to pain management therapeutics. An emphasis was given to clinical studies related to chronic pain disorders. Recent findings: Use of the descriptive diagnosis 'pelvic pain', traditionally limited to gynecological pains, has now been generalized to include male populations with similar symptom complexes arising from organs of reproduction and other pelvic organ systems such as the gastrointestinal tract and urological structures. Clinical studies have sought to refine or test existing 'standard' therapies for current pain groupings, and have frequently obtained frustrating results because many therapies appear to be effective in only a subset of patients. Notably, the same therapeutics appear to be effective in similar subsets of patients with other protean disorders. Summary: A commonality of symptoms suggests a commonality of pathophysiology, although this has not proved to be globally true. The success of therapeutic options appears to depend upon a stratification of previous pain groupings into overlapping subsets each with their effective treatment. Current studies are still defining these subsets and finding monotherapies to be inadequate for whole populations. © 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.