Pelvic pain is derived from various conditions and diseases typically arising from the reproductive, digestive or urinary systems. Some of the conditions involving the reproductive system include:
- Adhesions: Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that form in between organs and structures. Pelvic pain can occur when the scar tissue constricts vital structures.
- Adenomyosis: Adenomyosis occurs when glands from the endometrium become embedded in the uterine muscle, resulting in heavy bleeding and painful periods.
- Interstitial cystitis: this chronic bladder condition is characterized by pelvic pain, pain with urination, frequent urination, and urination urgency.
- Pelvic floor muscle spasm: some chronic pelvic pain can be a result of pelvic floor muscle spasms. These spasms can happen spontaneously, or be triggered by activity like sexual intercourse, and can occur in women with endometriosis.
- Uterine polyps or fibroids: Uterine polyps are noncancerous growths in the lining of the uterus, and fibroids are benign growth that attach to the wall of the uterus. Both of these have the potential to cause pelvic pain or heavy bleeding during your period.
- Uterine retroversion: this condition occurs when the uterus, which is normally tilted forward towards the bladder, is tilted backward toward the bowels, resulting in pelvic pain as well as lower back pain, pain during sex, and painful bowel movements.
- Uterine prolapse: uterine prolapse occurs when the uterus drops down. This can occur during vaginal childbirth.
- Pelvic congestion: pelvic congestion occurs when the pelvic blood vessels become enlarged, resulting in pelvic pain.
- Ovarian cysts: ovarian cysts are common, but can cause pelvic pain if they stretch the ovary or rupture.
- Ovarian torsion: this medical emergency occurs when an ovary twists on itself, causing acute lower abdominal pain.
- Abdominal wall neuropathy: this condition occurs when various nerves spanning from the lower abdominal wall to the upper leg are damaged.
- Pudendal neuropathy and pudendal nerve entrapment: if any portion of the pudendal nerve becomes damaged or entrapped, it can cause pelvic pain.
- Ovarian remnant syndrome: patients may experience ovarian remnant syndrome following the removal of an ovary.
- Other medical conditions: Other medical conditions that can contribute to pelvic pain include hernia, appendicitis, GI problems and reactions to foreign materials left in the body.
Managing Pelvic Pain:
Similarly to diagnosing endometriosis, certain tests such as pelvic exams, ultrasounds, MRIs and laparoscopy (link to laparoscopy page) can also be used to help diagnose underlying causes of pelvic pain. Your doctor may also administer lab tests or bloodwork to rule out possible sexually transmitted infections or urinary tract infections.
Treatments for pelvic pain may include:
- Pain medication: over-the-counter pain relievers may provide some relief from pelvic pain, but rarely solves issues related to chronic pain.
- Hormone treatments: hormonal medications or certain hormonal birth control methods may help relieve pelvic pain.
- Antibiotics: if your pelvic pain is a symptom of an infection, antibiotics may be able to help.
- Antidepressants: some antidepressants can have pain-relieving effects that are helpful for chronic pain, even in women who don’t have depression.
- Physical therapy: A physical therapist can assist with certain therapies that can help you manage your pelvic pain.
- Trigger point injections: numbing medicine injected directly into painful spots can help block pain.
- Laparoscopic surgery: this surgery can help ease pelvic pain associated with endometriosis.
- Hysterectomy: In rare cases, a hysterectomy may be recommended to treat pelvic pain.
Contact Us About Pelvic Pain
If you suffer from pelvic pain call our office at (919) 781-6200 to schedule an appointment to discuss treatment options.