Pelvic pain is a common complaint among women. It is categorized as either acute (sudden and severe), or chronic (lasting over a period of months or longer). Pelvic pain may originate in genital or extra genital organs in and around the pelvis, or it may be psychological (pain sensation and no physical problem is present).
What causes pelvic pain?
Pelvic pain may have multiple causes, including:
- inflammation or direct irritation of nerves caused by acute or chronic trauma, fibrosis, pressure, or intraperitoneal inflammation
- muscular contractions or cramps of both smooth and skeletal muscles
- psychogenic factors, which can cause or aggravate pain
- causes of acute pelvic pain may include: Ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, twisted or ruptured ovarian cyst, miscarriage or threatened miscarriage, urinary tract infection, appendicitis, ruptured fallopian tube
- causes of chronic pelvic pain may include: Menstrual cramps, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, adhesions or scar tissue between the internal organs in the pelvic cavity, endometrial polyps and cancers of the reproductive tract
How is pelvic pain diagnosed?
Diagnosis includes a good medical history (which includes the character of the pain) and physical exam. In addition some diagnostic procedures may include the following: Blood tests, pregnancy test, urinalysis, culture of cells from the cervix. Non invasive imaging techniques like an ultrasound, MRI. Laparoscopy to see the whole pelvic area. X-ray to produce images of bones and internal organs.
How to treat pelvic pain?
Specific treatment will be determined based on your age, overall health, and medical history, cause of the disease, type and severity of the symptoms and your tolerance for specific medications. Generally treatment usually includes antibiotics, anti inflammatory and pain medication. In cases of severe infection, hospitalization may be required to administer intravenous antibiotics. Occasionally, surgery is necessary. If a physical cause cannot be found, psychotherapy is recommended. Relaxation exercises or physical therapy is always recommended.