What Is Chronic Pelvic Pain?
Chronic pelvic pain is defined as pain in the pelvic area that persists for 6 months or longer. The pain may stem from a problem with the reproductive system or result from a disease of the urinary tract or bowels. Possible conditions that cause chronic pelvic pain include:
- Chronic bladder irritation
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Muscle, joint or ligament problems
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Uterine fibroids
Pain is the primary symptom, but it varies widely in type and severity.
- Intermittent pain — Pain may be constant, come and go, or occur during specific activities, such as eating, urinating or having a bowel movement, or having sex.
- Severe menstrual cramps — Chronic pelvic pain often occurs during menstruation.
- Varying intensity — Pain may range from mild to intense, and be marked by a dull ache or sharp pains.
Pain management options for chronic pelvic pain vary by cause and include:
- Lifestyle changes — Regular exercise and nutritional changes, such as increased intake of vitamin B1 and magnesium, may decrease pain.
- Medication — Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often used to relieve pelvic pain. Birth control pills or injections may be used to stop ovulation if it’s a contributing factor.
- Physical therapy — Therapies including acupuncture, nerve stimulation and trigger point therapy can help with some types of pelvic pain. Therapists may also recommend relaxation techniques and biofeedback to help patients control the mental and emotional aspects of pain.
- Surgery — Surgical intervention is rarely needed but may be recommended in the case of conditions such as endometriosis.
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If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of chronic pelvic pain, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.
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