Pelvic pain refers to discomfort in the lowest part of a woman’s abdomen and pelvis, and is often linked to complications of the reproductive, urinary, digestive, or musculoskeletal systems. How patients experience pelvic pain can vary significantly, and depending on the source, pelvic pain may be:
- Intermittent or constant
- Acute or chronic
- Dull or sharp;
- Isolated or radiate outward to the lower back, buttocks, or thighs
- Mild, moderate, or severe
- Brought on only during certain activities, such as urination or sexual activity.
Accurate diagnosis and treatment of pelvic pain requires the knowledge of a skillful practitioner who specializes in the field of gynecological disorders. At the Women’s Medical Center, P.C., located in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, our well-respected team of board certified Obstetricians/ Gynecologists are experts in the field of gynecology, and possess the necessary skillset to diagnose the source of your pelvic pain, and to create a customized treatment plan to resolve the underlying cause(s) of your painful symptoms.
PELVIC PAIN CAUSES
A number of diseases and conditions may be contributing to (or exacerbating the severity of) your pelvic pain—chronic (long-term, constant) pelvic pain often stems from more than one condition.
When pelvic pain originates in the female reproductive system, the primary cause of the pain may be:
- Adenomyosis: the endometrial tissue grows into the muscular wall of the uterus, rather than simply lining the uterine wall
- Endometriosis: this condition occurs when the uterine lining (endometrial tissue) becomes implanted outside the uterus, and as this misplaced tissue builds up and breaks down over the course of the menstrual cycle, patients may experience internal bleeding, swelling/inflammation of the tissues surrounding the endometriosis, and pelvic pain. Over time, this process can result in the development of lesions, scar tissue, growths and/or fibrous cysts in the affected area.
- Dysmenorrhea (medical term for menstrual cramps)
- Pregnancy-related conditions (i.e. ectopic pregnancy), miscarriage, or intrauterine fetal death
- Ovarian cysts or cancer
- Pain during ovulation (mittelschmerz)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): infection of the female reproductive organs
- Vulvodynia: chronic pain around the opening of the vagina
- Uterine fibroids
Causes of pelvic pain that are not linked to the female reproductive system may include: colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, chronic constipation, appendicitis, fibromyalgia, diverticulitis, intestinal obstruction, kidney stones, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), urinary tract infection (UTI), ulcerative colitis, inguinial hernia, pelvic floor muscle spasms, irritation of nerves in the pelvis, or interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome).
PELVIC PAIN TREATMENT
In order to accurately diagnose the underlying cause of your pelvic pain, your Women’s Medical Center, PC treatment provider may perform one or more of the following tests: urinalysis, tests for infection, laparoscopy, ultrasound, MRI, or computed tomography (CT scan). If it is determined that your pelvic pain is caused by endometriosis, there are a number of treatment options available that may help to alleviate your symptoms:
- Hormone therapy
- Pain medication (i.e. NSAIDs or other OTC analgesics)
- Surgical procedures
If you would like additional information diagnosing and treating pelvic pain, please contact the Women’s Medical Center, PC office today. We look forward to speaking with you, and to scheduling your initial appointment with one of our board certified physicians.