WHAT IS A PERSISTENT PELVIC PAIN?
Persistent or Chronic pelvic pain is a pain in your pelvic region (the area below your belly button and above your hips) that lasts for several months.
WHO IS AFFECTED BY PERSISTENT PELVIC PAIN?
Research shows that Chronic Pelvic Pain affects between 15-25 per cent of women in Australia.
Prevention of Chronic Pelvic Pain is dependant on what is causing the pain. In some cases chronic pelvic pain can be prevented. Initially, early diagnosis and effective management is the best course of action.
HOW DOES THE PERSISTENT PELVIC PAIN OCCUR?
Chronic pelvic pain may be steady or it may come and go.
The pelvic pain can feel like a dull ache, or it can be sharp. The pain may be mild, or it may be bad enough to interfere with normal daily activities.
CAUSES OF PERSISTENT PELVIC PAIN
Some of the more common causes of Persistent Pelvic Pain or Chronic Pelvic Pain include:
Other medical conditions
- Irritable bowel syndrome: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common problem with the intestines. In people who have IBS, the intestines squeeze too hard or not hard enough. This causes food to move too quickly or too slowly through the intestines.
- Interstitial cystitis: Interstitial cystitis is a chronic bladder problem. People with interstitial cystitis have a bladder wall that is inflamed and irritated (red and sore). This inflammation can scar the bladder or make it stiff. A stiff bladder can’t expand as urine fills it. In some cases, the walls of the bladder may bleed slightly. A few people get sores in the bladder lining.
- Past or present sexual abuse: If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, you are more likely to experience chronic pelvic pain.
SYMPTOMS OF PERSISTENT PELVIC PAIN
The main symptom associated with chronic pelvic pain is, of course, pain. But how often you feel the pain and the severity of pain differs.
It depends on the person and what is causing the pain. Women who suffer from persistent pelvic pain can suffer symptoms of pain:
- every day
- during sex
- after eating, or
- the pain may come and go
TYPES OF PERSISTENT PELVIC PAIN
To determine what type of Pelvic Pain a patient may have your doctor may need to understand when the pain is most noticeable. Answers to the following questions can help:
- Is the pain related to your menstrual cycle?
- Is it related to bowel movements?
- Does it hurt during urination or sexual activity?
- Have you had an infection?
- Have you had surgery in your pelvic area?
HOW IS PERSISTENT PELVIC PAIN DIAGNOSED?
After your history and physical exam have been taken, your doctor may decide to conductor some or all of the following diagnostic tests
- Blood tests,
- Urologic tests,
HOW IS PERSISTENT PELVIC PAIN TREATED?
Treatment of Persistent Pelvic Pain depends on your individual problem.
Your doctor will help you determine which form of treatment is right for you. Some treatment options include:
- Stopping ovulation (the release of eggs from the ovary) with birth control pills or injections.
- Using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (one brand name: Motrin) or naproxen (brand name: Aleve).
- Relaxation exercises, biofeedback (treatment to control emotional states using electronic devices), and physical therapy.
- Nerve blocks
- Physical therapy or weight loss
Rarely, surgery is necessary if doctors can see pelvic abnormalities.
WHAT IF PERSISTENT PELVIC PAIN IS UNTREATED
If your chronic pain goes untreated or traditional methods of pain relief stop working persistent pelvic pain can either get worse or disappear.
When chronic pain stops it typically indicates that the underlying cause has been resolved.
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
If you are experiencing any symptoms of Chronic Pelvic Pain above or are concerned about any gyneacological problem that may require further investigation, we would advise that you see your general practitioner and possibly obtain a referral to see Dr Gailani.
Dr Gailani can offer specialised help, advice on a possible diagnosis, further investigations and suitable treatment. Contact his rooms at www.omargailani.com.au