Chronic Pelvic Pain

Understanding Chronic Pelvic Pain

Chronic pelvic pain in women, by definition, involves pain in the pelvic region - the area below the belly button and between the hips - persisting for six months or longer. Chronic pelvic pain can be a symptom that signifies the existence of other medical conditions or maybe its own condition caused by neuropathic pain, or the abnormal function of the nervous system. Proper assessment and diagnosis is essential to developing effective treatment programs that address the underlying condition and/or relieve symptoms.

Chronic pelvic pain, while a relatively less common reason for a hysterectomy, accounts for roughly 10 percent of all gynecological visits. In many cases, the specific cause is undiagnosed. Some of the common causes of and conditions associated with chronic female pelvic pain include:

  • Gynecologic conditions - Various gynecologic conditions affecting the female reproductive organs/system can cause chronic pelvic pain. Common conditions can include endometriosisadenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory diseases, ovarian cysts, and uterine fibroids, among others.
  • Other conditions - Other various abdominal, nerve, and muscular conditions can cause chronic pelvic pain. Proctitis, colitis, appendicitis, internal hernias, urinary conditions, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic floor dysfunction, and others are common conditions that can create pain symptoms. In some cases, chronic pelvic pain has been associated with psychological and emotional factors, including a history of sexual or physical abuse.

When investigating the underlying cause of chronic pain, doctors may conduct full assessments and use a variety of tests and diagnostic approaches. Pelvic examinations, cultures, ultrasound, and other imaging tests are commonly used to rule out and/or find a specific condition. Laparoscopy, which involves the insertion of a tiny camera (laparoscope), may also be used to further explore possible abnormalities or signs of infection.

Chronic Pelvic Pain Symptoms 
Signs and symptoms can vary from case to case. Among the many various symptoms, all of which last for at least six months, some of the most common includes:

  • Steady, severe pain
  • Intermittent pain (periods of pain / no pain)
  • Sharp pain and cramping, especially during periods
  • Heaviness or pressure within the pelvis
  • Pain during intercourse, when having a bowel movement, urinating, or when sitting

Chronic pain can also create much more debilitating repercussions, particularly to a person's emotional stability and well-being. The difficulty of living with persistent pain on a daily basis has been known to cause depression and anxiety, which can further lead to unhealthy habits and a decreased quality of life. While a definitive diagnosis may be elusive in some cases, the chronic pain and symptoms women experience can be effectively treated using a number of options and approaches.

Treatment Options

As with any pain symptoms, treatment options are largely influenced by the particular circumstances at hand. If a specific medical condition has been diagnosed, then certain, specialized approaches may be taken to target the underlying cause of pain. In other cases, medical professionals, including physicians and rehabilitation specialists, can develop treatment programs that aim to reduce pain and symptoms and promote a more active, healthier, and happier lifestyle. Many patients are able to control pain symptoms using conservative treatment options such as pain relievers and over-the-counter medications, antibiotics for infections, and physical therapy. Other options include hormone treatments, antidepressants, nerve stimulation, and trigger-point injections.

Surgical treatment options may be appropriate in cases of chronic pelvic pain that involve a known, underlying condition. Pelvic adhesions and endometrial tissue, which can be a source of pain, can be removed using laparoscopic surgery. Hysterectomy, a procedure in which the uterus is removed, may become an option for serious conditions that do not respond to conservative treatment. Hysterectomy surgery should be carefully considered in comparison to other available alternatives and options.

If you are suffering from chronic pelvic pain, specific medical advice and assessments from a specialist are essential to developing an effective treatment approach. is a reliable resource that can provide you with access to the information you need regarding your particular condition and available treatment options, including ways in which a hysterectomy can be potentially avoided. Contact us to learn more.