Help for Pelvic Pain

One in seven women experience chronic pelvic pain, and it is notoriously difficult to heal. Even after extensive doctors’ visits it can be hard to pinpoint a cause for the pain or treatments that work. Women who suffer with chronic pelvic pain understand that simple tasks such as walking, using the restroom, having sex and wearing your favorite pair of jeans should not be taken for granted as the pain can make even the simplest of tasks difficult to do.

There have been major strides in educating physicians about chronic pain over the last decade. Doctors now know that chronic pelvic pain is rarely due to a single problem. Most women suffering from this pain have two or three conditions that are causing the overall discomfort, therefore treating a single condition will not ease the pain.

Even with the breakthroughs in chronic pelvic pain education, women still need to educate themselves on conditions and advocate for their health. Understanding the common components of your pain the, subtle differences between various conditions and how they interact and exacerbate symptoms will help make diagnosing and treating your pain easier. Become familiar with your tests you will need and conventional as well as natural therapies available. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to find a specialist that will work with you to untangle the numerous causes of your pain.

Listed below are some of the most common symptoms for chronic pelvic pain:


Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus migrate outside of the organ and break down each month with your period. Women usually experience severe cramps coinciding with their menstrual cycle that radiates down into the back and lower legs.

I minimally invasive surgery known as a laparoscopy can be performed to remove a sample of tissue for inspection under a microscope in order to diagnose the condition. If endometriosis is indeed the culprit, treatments to ease the pain include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, along with birth control pills and other hormones that work to shrink the endometrial tissue can greatly reduce discomfort. Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove or destroy endometrial growths. In severe cases a hysterectomy may be necessary.

Interstitial Cystitis 

This involves discomfort in the bladder which may be caused by a breakdown of the cells on the bladder’s surface, called mucin, that protect it from acidity. Many women report that interstitial cystitis feels like the worst urinary tract infection they have ever had. Burning and stabbing pains are present when the bladder is full and when they urinate, which can occur up to 60 times over the course of a 24 hour period. To diagnose it, other conditions with similar symptoms must be ruled out.

Your doctor will test your urine for bacteria to ensure that you are not experiencing a urinary tract infection. He or she may examine your bladder using a thin, lighted scope called a cystoscope and a bladder biopsy may be needed to rule out the possibility of cancer. An oral drug called Elmiron is used to treat interstitial cystitis after a diagnosis is confirmed. It works to coat the surface of the bladder and may take 6 to 9 months to be completely effective. Antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, and antiseizure medications have also been successful in treating the symptoms.

Pelvic Floor Tension and Myalgia

An array of issues, both physical and emotional, can lead to chronic tension in the muscles of the pelvic floor, which support your organs. A telltale sign is a heaviness or achiness in the pelvis and burning, itching and pain in the vagina or urethra. An experienced pelvic pain practitioner can diagnose this condition upon a physical exam. Pelvic floor therapy has proven to be the most effective form of treatment where you will learn stretching and strengthening techniques that will prevent the muscles from going into spasm. Botox injections can provide temporary relief by relaxing the muscles, and trigger point injections can also been helpful for some women.


Vulvodynia is characterized by chronic pain in the vulva. The cause is still unknown but it is suggested that previous yeast infections may make women more susceptible to developing vulvodynia.  Nerve damage from childbirth or previous injuries may also be a cause. Most women with this condition suffer from vulvar vestibulitis, pain at the entry to the vagina. Symptoms include burning or stinging in the vulva that may radiate into the buttocks or thighs and can be either constant or intermittent. About 80% of women report the pain is brought on my intercourse, but wearing tight pants or inserting a tampon can also cause discomfort. To diagnose the condition, your doctor will touch parts of the vulva with a cotton swab in order to detect pain. There is no test for vulvodynia so the physician must rely on an extensive exam and a health history to rule out other symptoms. Antiseizure medications, antidepressants and topical anesthetic lidocaine can be helpful in treating the condition. Surgery to remove the nerve endings in the painful areas is often successful and can be performed as a last resort.

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