About 15% of women of childbearing age suffer from chronic pelvic pain, which is pain below the belly button lasting for six months or more. Yet, the majority of women experiencing pelvic pain don’t seek treatment, and it’s not because their pain is bearable or it doesn’t interfere with their life, which in most cases it does.
For one, the pelvic region is a busy area, encompassing a number of organs and body parts. Your uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and vagina are all part of your pelvic region, and often it can be hard to explain or pinpoint the source of your pain. Also, some women are embarrassed or ashamed to talk about pelvic pain.
There’s a lot of issues that can cause pelvic pain, from appendicitis to urinary tract infections to fibroids. Some causes are minor while others can be a result of more serious conditions like cancer.
The most important thing you should be aware of when it comes to chronic pelvic pain is that you should always report it to your doctor — and never ignore it. Here’s why:
Most women with chronic pain have endometriosis, which can impact fertility
One study found that 71-81% of women with chronic pelvic pain have endometriosis, a condition where uterine tissue, or endometrial tissue, grows in areas outside the uterus. If left untreated, endometriosis may interfere with a woman’s ability to get pregnant.
Chronic pelvic pain can interfere with your sex life
Many of the conditions that cause pelvic pain such as endometriosis, vulvodynia, and urinary tract infections, also result in painful intercourse. If your condition is treated or addressed, you can resume a healthy sex life.
Chronic pelvic pain can be a symptom of gynecologic cancer
Often symptoms of these types of cancers are vague or mimic other conditions such as indigestion.
More than 80,000 women a year are diagnosed with gynecologic cancer. If caught early, though, most are treatable. That’s why it’s important to report any recurrent abdominal pain such as gas, indigestion, bloating, and cramps to your doctor.
No one should have to live with pain
Chronic pain, of any kind, can lead to insomnia, depression, anxiety, and poor quality of life. But some women think that pelvic pain is a normal part of menstruation or something to be endured. It’s not. Talk to the team at International Spine Pain & Performance Center about your symptoms so we can diagnose and treat your pain.
Pelvic pain is treatable
The causes of pelvic pain are numerous, and diagnostic tools such as ultrasound, laparoscopy, and cystoscopy can help you and your doctor figure out the cause of your pelvic pain and the right course of treatment.
Treatment for chronic pelvic pain may be as simple as lifestyle changes or taking over-the-counter pain medications. Or, you may need prescription medications or surgery.
The most important thing to remember is that by making us aware of your pain, we can help reduce or eliminate it. Call or request an appointment online at your preferred location to find relief from chronic pelvic pain.