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Chronic Pelvic Pain In Females

Chronic Pelvic Pain In Females

Definition

Pelvic pain is located between the belly button and the hips and groin. If it lasts for 6 months or more it is called chronic pelvic pain.

Pelvic pain can be caused by problems in any of the organs, soft tissues, or structures in the area including the reproductive organs, intestines, nerves, bladder, or muscles.

Female Pelvic Organs
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Causes

A wide variety of chronic conditions or injuries can cause pelvic pain:

  • Gynecological conditions, such as:
    • Endometriosis
    • Pelvic inflammatory disease
    • Fibroids
    • Pain when ovulating
    • Menstrual pain
    • Adenomyosis
    • Cysts
    • Pelvic congestion syndrome
  • Gastrointestinal conditions, such as:
    • Diverticulitis
    • Irritable bowel syndrome
    • Constipation
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Cancer
    • Ulcerative colitis
  • Urinary conditions, such as a bladder infection or urinary tract infection
  • Injuries to muscles, nerves, hips, or back

Psychological conditions, such as depression, can also increase the sensation of pain or cause pain with normal action.

For some, the cause of chronic pelvic pain is not clear.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of chronic pelvic pain include:

  • Miscarriage
  • Cesarean section or pelvic surgery
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Heavy menstrual flow
  • Chronic conditions listed above

Symptoms

Pain can vary significantly from person to person. Chronic pelvic pain may include:

  • Constant pain or dull ache in the pelvic area
  • Burning, shooting pain
  • Rectal urgency
  • Pain that comes and goes
  • Pain that ranges from mild to severe
  • Pain with certain activities
  • Pain with prolonged sitting

Diagnosis

Chronic pain is diagnosed after it has been present for at least 6 months. Tests and examination may be needed if the cause is not known. Tests may include blood tests, urine tests, imaging tests (such as x-rays and ultrasound), or minimally invasive surgeries to examine the area.

The doctor will also ask about your medical history and details about the pain such as when it occurs, how it feels, and how long it lasts. A pain journal may help show important details.

Treatment

If the cause is known, treatments will be focused on treating the underlying cause. These may include counseling, medication and/or surgery.

Pain management can help with pain that does not fully respond to treatment of related conditions or pain with no clear cause. Options include:

Prevention

Preventing chronic pelvic pain depends on the condition causing it. Some causes are not preventable.

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