Chronic pelvic pain is a very common condition that affects approximately 20 percent of women in the child bearing age group. It is basically pain in the abdomen, below the belly button and is called as chronic when it lasts for longer than 6 months. It may be continuous, or may occur before/after urination, before/during/after sex, or may have a relation to the menstrual cycle. Chronic pelvic pain can affect work, sleep, daily activities, sexual life, and sleep. This is a chronic condition which bothers a lot of women before they decide to seek help.
Causes of Chronic Pelvic Pain:
Chronic pelvic floor pain occurs in the lower abdomen. A gynecologist will diagnose for any treatable issue.
While chronic pelvic pain often is most often due to abnormal firing of nerves, it may have other causes like:
Psychological (anxiety, depression), Gastrointestinal, Gynecological, Musculoskeletal,
How is it diagnosed?
A detailed medical history is needed to understand the cause. A clinical examination, including a pelvic assessment will be done. Tests also may be done to find the cause. Specialists like gynecologist, gastroenterologist, urologist may need to be involved.
Some of the following imaging tests may be performed:
Pelvic Pain Treatment options:
1. Lifestyle changes—Good posture, pelvic floor exercises and relaxation techniques often go a long way in treating chronic pelvic pain.
2. Pain Medication:
Over the Counter analgesic medicines are extremely helpful in relieving this nagging pain. However one must be aware of the long term side effects ofthese drugs.
3. Interventional Pain Management Techniques:
In intractable cases, where no apparent root cause like endometriosis, inflammatory bowel or pelvic inflammatory disease is identified, the pain generating nerve (superior hypogastric plexus or individual nerves) are identified and radio frequency ablation is done. This provides excellent long term relief in majority patients, reducing not only pain, but also urinary frequency, urgency, painful sex and dysmenorrhea.
4. Physical therapy—Acupuncture, acupressure, and nerve stimulation therapies may be useful. Trigger points are identified, which are released with physical therapy and muscular spasm is reduced. Coping strategies are taught, which include relaxation exercises and biofeedback.
Intractable Pelvic pain might need surgery to identify the exact cause, release adhesions if any or tackle any primary problem which may be causing the pelvic pain.
Thus, chronic pelvic pain is a symptom that is more common than you think. There are several options to get rid of it. So seek help and do not suffer alone!.
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