Pelvic Pain Causes

There are a variety of pelvic pain causes. The pelvic area is the area between the hips and below the belly button. Pain in this area is usually considered a symptom of another condition and in many cases, the cause can be difficult to find. If a patient is experiencing pelvic pain, it is important to have it evaluated because once diagnosed, treatment can begin.

Endometriosis

This condition is characterized by the tissue of the endometrium (the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus) growing outside of the uterus. The cause of this condition remains unknown, but many researchers and health care professionals do have theories. This can cause pelvic pain and more serious issues like infertility. Other symptoms may include painful periods, irregular periods, pain after or during intercourse, pelvic cramping and painful bowel movements. Medications to slow the progression of the endometriosis and to control pain are commonly used. In some cases, a hysterectomy in which both ovaries are also removed and/or surgery to remove areas of endometriosis may be beneficial.

Pelvic Adhesions

These are bands of scar tissue. Previous infections create them and they bind organs together. Pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, appendicitis or abdominal or pelvic surgery may cause these. Symptoms may include pelvic pain. To treat them, surgery is necessary to cut the bands, though, they can re-form.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Also referred to as IBS, this condition is characterized by abdominal cramping and pain and bowel movement changes. Patients may experience pelvic pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea and constipation and other associated symptoms. Lifestyle changes are commonly used to treat this condition. Patients should avoid food that cause their symptoms to worsen. Good sleep and regular exercise are also necessary. Anticholinergic medications, tricyclic antidepressants, muscle relaxers, loperamide and lubiprostone are medications that may benefit some patients.

Vulvodynia

This is a condition characterized by chronic vulvar pain. The cause is unknown. Patients may experience pelvic pain and painful intercourse. In the genital area, women may experience burning, itching, rawness, throbbing, soreness and stinging. Treatment may include biofeedback therapy, local anesthetics and surgery. Medications, such as tricyclic antidepressants, antihistamines and anticonvulsants may be beneficial as well.

Interstitial Cystitis

This condition is characterized by a chronic inflammation of the bladder wall. The cause of this pelvic pain cause is not known. Patients may experience pelvic pain, urinary frequency, pain during intercourse, urinary discomfort and urinary urgency. Medications that may help include opioid painkillers (in cases of severe pain), Vistaril and tricyclic antidepressants. Other therapies and treatments include diet modifications, bladder hydrodistention, instilled medications, surgery, bladder training, biofeedback and physical therapy.

Resources

UCSF Medical Center. (2010). Pelvic Pain Symptoms. Retrieved on April 14, 2011 from UCSF Medical Center: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/pelvic_pain/signs_and_symptoms.html

Mayo Clinic. (2011). Chronic Pelvic Pain. Retrieved on April 14, 2011 from the Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chronic-pelvic-pain/DS00571