A Primer on Chronic Pelvic Pain

chronic pelvic pain
chronic pelvic pain

Chronic pelvic pain is a long-lasting pain felt below a woman’s navel lasting for over six months. The pain experienced would differ in every woman ranging from mild fleeting aches to steady, acute, and debilitating pains making routine tasks difficult to perform.

In case a woman has felt a new, abrupt pelvic pain, it is imperative to visit a doctor promptly.

Causes of Chronic Pelvic Pain:

Prevalent causes comprise of:

  • Chronic pelvic pain issues related to the reproductive system like adenomyosis, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis.
  • Formation of scar tissues or adhesions in the pelvic region after having contracted a pelvic infection or undergone a surgical procedure.
  • Urinary tract (bowel) infections like unremitting bladder irritation or IBS or irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Being physically or sexually abused could be a reason. Several experts are unsure of the cause for this happening. However, nearly half of the females having chronic pelvic pain have a past of being abused.

Often physicians fail to comprehend all factors contributory to chronic pelvic pain. Hence, at times despite tests being conducted, the reason remains elusive. But, this does not signify that there is no cause or that the pain is not genuine.

At times, after treatment of an ailment or after injury healing has occurred, the nerves that have been affected continue to convey pain signs known as neuropathic pain.

Symptoms of Chronic Pelvic Pain:

The kind of pain experienced could differ extensively and could comprise of:

  • Pains felt that could range from mild to acute.
  • Pains felt ranging from dull to sharp-shooting.
  • Acute cramps felt when menstruating.
  • Painful sexual intercourse.
  • Pain felt during urination or while passing bowels.

Chronic pelvic pain could cause depression. Depression could lead to misery and drab, poor eating and sleeping, and slacken regular movements.

Diagnosis:

During the initial consultation with the doctor, a complete pelvic examination would be conducted for looking into reproductive system-related problems. The woman would be queried regarding earlier and current health and the signs. Particular tests would be advised:

  • A Pap smear test to check for cervical cancer presence or cell modifications known as dysplasia.
  • Urine and blood analysis tests for detecting any indications of infection.
  • Test for confirming pregnancy.
  • Tests to look for STDs or sexually transmitted diseases.

Emotional turmoil or upheaval could don a crucial part in chronic pelvic pain. The physician could probe for the presence of depression or being stressed is raising the problem.

In case preliminary tests fail to identify any causes, then other tests that reveal images of the abdomen’s interiors are done. These tests could comprise MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CAT scan, or transvaginal ultrasound scan of the pelvic area.

A minor surgical intervention known as laparoscopy could also be advised wherein a fine, illuminated tube is introduced via a tiny slit in the belly for checking the presence of any scar tissues or growth within the abdomen.

Treatment of Chronic Pelvic Pain:

In case the reason for the chronic pelvic pain has been identified, then the following widely conducted treatments could be suggested:

  • Contraceptive pills or hormone treatment for issues linked to the menstrual cycle.
  • Surgical excision of tumor, growth, or cyst formations.
  • Medication for treating the condition, like an antibiotics course in case of infection or medicine to treat IBS.

Often optimal outcomes are derived when several treatments have coalesced.

  • Pain allaying medicines (NSAID) such as naproxen (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) which could be purchased over-the-counter, or the physician could advise a more substantial treatment. Such medications show the best outcomes when taken on a standard schedule instead of when pains are felt.
  • Tricyclic anti-depressant medications that could assist with pains alongside depressive moods.
  • Biofeedback or CBT or cognitive-behavioral therapy to assist in changing the outlook towards pain.
  • Counseling sessions for reducing stress and offering dynamic backup.

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