Chronic Pelvic Pain
Chronic pelvic pain is pain in the pelvic area that lasts for 6 months or longer. Chronic pain can come and go, it can be constant, or it can follow a regular cycle, as during menstruation. It also can occur only at certain times, such as before or after eating, while urinating, or during sex.
Chronic pelvic pain can be caused by a variety of conditions. Some of these conditions may not be related to the reproductive organs but to the urinary tract or bowel. Some women have more than one condition that might be the cause of their pain. For some women with chronic pelvic pain, no cause is found.
Women suffering from chronic pelvic pain may need an ultrasound to help determine the cause. Chronic pelvic pain is generally addressed with one or several treatments in combination:
- Lifestyle changes – Improved posture and regular exercise.
- Pain-relieving drugs – Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are helpful, especially for dysmenorrhea.
- Physical therapy – Acupuncture, acupressure, and biofeedback.
- Nutrition therapy – Vitamin B1 and magnesium may help relieve dysmenorrhea.
- Surgery – Pelvic pain that does not respond to other treatments can be relieved by surgery.
Biofeedback: A technique in which an attempt is made to control body functions, such as heartbeat or blood pressure.
Dysmenorrhea: Discomfort and pain during the menstrual period.
Pelvic Exam: A physical examination of a woman’s reproductive organs.
Sigmoidoscopy: A test in which a slender device is placed into the rectum and lower colon to look for cancer.
Ultrasound: A test in which sound waves are used to examine internal structures.