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Pelvic pain can be inconvenient, annoying, and uncomfortable, or downright debilitating — and it can indicate a serious problem. If your pelvic pain symptoms are getting in the way of your life, you should schedule an appointment for a diagnosis of your pelvic pain.
Pelvic Pain Symptoms
There is a difference between acute and chronic pelvic pain. Acute pain may be a one-time or short-lived discomfort, while chronic pelvic pain is something that has lasted for six months or longer. That may mean it’s a steady, constant pain, or it may come and go for that length of time, either randomly or associated with certain behaviors or conditions: menstruation, abnormal bleeding, heavy lifting, or sexual intercourse, for example.
Symptoms may vary depending upon the individual and exactly where the pain is originating — it could be an issue with the uterus, bladder, or something else. Pelvic pain symptoms may include:
- Dull or sharp pain
- Similar to or very different from menstrual cramps
- In conjunction with bleeding or lightheadedness
- Pain during or after eating, having sex, urinating, or performing strenuous activity
Causes of Pelvic Pain and Common Diagnoses
One of the primary causes of pelvic pain is endometriosis. This is when the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus. It can be anywhere from mildly to extremely painful, and it can make it difficult to become pregnant.
Irritable bowel syndrome, ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, and sexually transmitted diseases may also cause pelvic pain. Some causes of pelvic pain, like a urinary tract infection, are generally easy to fix. Other issues, like ectopic pregnancy, are life threatening and require immediate attention. Those two conditions would cause acute pelvic pain. Ongoing pain may indicate another issue.
To diagnose pelvic pain, your pelvic pain doctor may use ultrasound or laparoscopy during the exam. Laparoscopy is a simple, precise procedure in which a small incision is made in the belly button. A camera is inserted through the incision and can be used to diagnose endometriosis. By placing incisions in different places and using different instruments, laparoscopy is also an option for treating endometriosis, removing ovarian cysts, releasing scar tissue, and much more. This can usually be done in the outpatient setting, and recovery time is short. It’s a fantastic diagnostic tool for clear results and answers for how to relieve your pelvic pain.
Pelvic Pain Treatment Options
Severe menstrual cramps may be treated with pain medication or physical therapy, while certain STDs and infections can be treated with antibiotics. Other causes of pelvic pain may need to be addressed with surgery. Depending upon your particular diagnosis, there are various options available:
- Laparoscopy: As mentioned above, this procedure can be used to treat endometriosis, remove the uterus or ovaries, and more with less pain and less blood loss than other types of surgery.
- Hysteroscopy: This can be used to remove polyps and fibroids from the uterus. No incisions! Instead, the uterus is accessed via the cervix.
- Hysterectomy: If the uterus must be removed due to endometriosis, chronic pain, or other conditions, Dr. Jones will typically do so laparoscopically or vaginally.
- Endometrial Ablation: Another outpatient, incision-free option, this can be used to treat periods that are especially heavy and painful.
Remember, you don’t have to live with chronic pelvic pain. You can schedule an appointment with a doctor and get started on the road to a higher quality of life.