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Understanding Female Chronic Pelvic Pain

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Many women are frustrated when they experience chronic pelvic pain but have no known cause. Our female urology specialists understand that although the cause of your pelvic pain may not be easily pinpointed, your pain is real. Pelvic pain is an integrated problem and your doctor will perform a comprehensive workup and extensive testing to rule out other pelvic conditions that may be causing your pain.

Chronic Pelvic Pain May Be Associated With Other Pelvic Conditions, Including:

  • Interstitial cystitis (IC) or painful bladder syndrome
  • Endometriosis
  • Chronic bladder infections
  • Pelvic adhesions or scar tissue from a prior abdominal surgery
  • Dysmenorrhea, or painful menstrual cramps
  • Levator Ani Syndrome, which causes increased tension of the pelvic floor
  • Vaginismus, or excessive tightness of the pelvic floor muscles around the opening of the vagina in anticipation of pain, especially during sexual intercourse.

Treating Chronic Pelvic Pain

While finding an exact cause of your pelvic pain may prove difficult, your doctor can either treat a known medical condition that is causing your pain or treat the pain on its own. Working with a urologist, a specially trained physical therapist can perform soft tissue mobilization of pelvic floor muscles as well as relaxation techniques, pelvic floor muscle exercises, and suggest exercises to improve poor posture.

If a diagnosis has been made, such as interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, a bladder condition, or other cause of pain, your doctor will prescribe the appropriate treatment for your diagnosed condition, which can include physical therapy.

If no known cause of pain has been diagnosed, your doctor may begin treatment with pain medication, including:

  • NSAIDs – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can relieve pain caused by inflammation or menstruation
  • Tri-cyclic antidepressants are occasionally used to help relieve pain
  • Oral contraceptives can help reduce menstrual pain as well as pain associated with endometriosis
  • Depending on the cause or origin of the pain, your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy to relieve chronic pain
  • Some women develop pelvic pain following placement of the mesh sling for treatment of stress urinary incontinence. By removing the mesh sling, some patients have experienced improvement in pelvic pain.

Sometimes, a woman’s chronic pelvic pain remains a mystery and treatment can be a trial and error process. Your doctor may try several treatments before finding one, or a combination, that provides relief.