How to Treat Chronic Pelvic Pain

How to Treat Chronic Pelvic Pain

This article will discuss how to treat pelvic pain that has lasted longer than 6 months. If you are experiencing new, sudden pelvic pain, see your doctor as soon as you can.

What is Chronic Pelvic Pain?

Pelvic pain happens in females below the belly button. It is considered chronic, meaning long-lasting, if it has lasted 6 months or longer and is not related to pregnancy. The type of pain varies from woman to woman; some experience a mild ache while others experience severe pain that makes it hard to work, sleep, or enjoy life. For some women, it comes and goes while for others it can be constant. Sometimes chronic pelvic pain follows a regular cycle such as occurring during menstruation or at a certain time, such as during sex.  If your doctor is able to find what is causing this pain, treating it may cause the pain to go away. If he or she is unable to find the cause of the pain, the doctor may be able to help find ways to ease the pain and restore your quality of life. 

What Causes Chronic Pelvic Pain?

There are a number of conditions that can cause chronic pelvic pain. Some common causes of chronic pelvic pain include:
  • Diseases of the urinary tract or bowel. This can include irritable bowel syndrome and chronic bladder irritation.
  • Scar tissue in the pelvic areas as a result of infection or surgery.
  • Problems of the reproductive system including endometriosis, adenomyosis, and uterine fibroids.
  • Problems with the joints, muscles, and ligaments in the pelvis, lower back, or hips.
For some women experiencing chronic pelvic pain, no cause is found. This does not mean that there is no cause or that your pain is not real. 

How Is Chronic Pelvic Pain Diagnosed?

In order to diagnose chronic pelvic pain, your doctor may ask for your medical history, perform a physical exam including a pelvic exam, and conduct various other tests to find the cause. It may be necessary to see another specialist like a urogynecologist, a gynecologist that specializes in urinary and related issues. The tests conducted to diagnose the cause may include cystoscopy, colonoscopy, laparoscopy, ultrasound, or sigmoidoscopy.

How Is Chronic Pelvic Pain Treated?

There are several pain-relief measures that can be taken to treat chronic pelvic pain including the following.

Lifestyle Changes

Improving your posture and regularly exercising can help to relieve pelvic pain.

Pain-Relief Medicines

Pain relievers called NSAIDs, that include ibuprofen or naproxen can be purchased over the counter or your doctor may prescribe stronger painkillers. Be safe with medications, following a doctor’s orders on how much and how often to take them.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy may be used to help you relax your muscles, ease trigger points that cause muscle pain, improve your posture, and live a more active life. 

Birth Control or Hormone Treatment

For pelvic pain associated with menstruation, a doctor may prescribe you birth control pills or hormone treatments.

Surgery

Chronic pelvic pain that does not respond to the previously mentioned treatments can be relieved with surgery. Surgery may be used to remove a growth, cyst, or tumor if that is found to be the cause of the pelvic pain. Cutting or destroying nerves can block pain signals from reaching other tissues and organs.
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