What is Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain occurs in the lowest part of your abdomen (below your belly button and may include sex organs) and can develop from a number of conditions and diseases. Often pelvic pain may come with pregnancy, bladder or digestive problems or may arise from muscles or connective tissue in the pelvic floor.
Men and women alike experience pelvic pain, but it occurs more often in women than men. In women and men pelvic pain may be a symptom of infection or may simply result from pain in the pelvic bone or in non-reproductive internal organs like the urinary track or bowel. However, in women, pelvic pain can be an indication that there may be a problem with reproductive organs such as the uterus, cervix, ovaries, vagina, fallopian tubes or vagina.
Today an estimated 6 to 27% of women worldwide have chronic pelvic pain, but only about one third seek medical care.
What Are the Symptoms of Pelvic Pain?
Pelvic pain may be intermittent or constant to an extent that it interferes with sleep, careers or relationships. Symptoms or pelvic pain may range from:
- Diarrhea, constipation, fevers, or vomiting accompanied by pain
- Painful urination or reoccurring pain during bowel movements
- Sharp pelvic pain or cramps, or pressure above the pubic area
- Pain in the lower abdomen that may radiate to the lower back or legs
- Burning, stinging or itching in the external genital area accompanied by pain
What Causes Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain can develop from a wide range of conditions and may a sign of:
- Pelvic Floor Dysfunction or Pudendal Neuralgia
- A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) or Interstitial cystitis (IC)
- A chronic digestive disorder like Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Endometriosis, fibroids or ovarian cysts
- PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) or menstrual cramps
- Painful ovulation (mittelschmerz)
- A complication from STDs, causing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Chronic vulvar pain (vulvodynia ) or pain during sex (dyspareunia)
- Pelvic Congestion Syndrome or Pelvic Organ Prolapse
How is Chronic Pelvic Pain Diagnosed?
Chronic pelvic pain is diagnosed when it lasts longer than 3 to 6 months and shows no signs of improvement after treatment. Besides a providing a through medical and social history other exams or tests may be required. These typically include:
- A pelvic exam
- Blood work
- Abdominal X-rays, CT scans and/or MRI’s
What Are the Treatment Options for Pelvic Pain?
Determining the root of chronic pelvic pain often involves a process of elimination because many different disorders can cause pelvic pain and each may respond to different treatment. Depending on the symptoms and condition any one or more of the treatment options below are used to treat those who suffer from pelvic pain:
- Guided nerve blocks
- Radio Frequency Ablation
- Botox Injections
- Trigger Point Injections
- Pudendal Nerve Block
- Ganglion Impar Block
- Pelvic floor rehabilitation physical therapy
- Analgesics may be prescribed to reduce pain