The region between the hips and below the navel is the pelvic region. When men and women feel pain in this area it is referred to as pelvic pain. If this pain persists for more than six months, it is considered chronic; when it lasts for shorter period of time, it is considered acute.
What are the common symptoms of pelvic pain?
When women complain of pelvic pain their symptoms may include: menstrual cramps and vaginal discharge, spotting or bleeding. Both men and women may encounter these symptoms with pelvic pain: problems with urination; diarrhea or constipation; gas or bloating; a bloody bowel movement; pain during intercourse; a chill or fever; and pain in the groin or hip area.
What is the cause of pelvic pain?
Most often patients experience pelvic pain following surgery or some other type of soft-tissue trauma. In these cases, the pain may be moderate or severe. Normally, it lasts for a relatively brief period of time.
Both men and women may have pelvic pain from a variety of causes including: bladder disorders, appendicitis, sexually-transmitted diseases, a hernia, nerve conditions, intestinal disorders, kidney stones or infections, a broken pelvis, or a pelvic disorder.
Women may attribute their pelvic pain to these causes: ovulation, menstrual cramps, inflammation, a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, cysts or fibroids, uterine or cervical cancer, and endometriosis.
How is pelvic pain diagnosed?
An accurate diagnosis of pelvic pain is based on a medical examination, your medical history, and study of your symptoms. Important clues to the cause of your pelvic pain may be discovered through a variety of tests including:
CAT scan to provide cross-sectional images of your pelvis and abdomen
Ultrasound to provide real-time images of your internal organs
Lower endoscopy to examine your colon and rectum
Hysteroscopy to examine the uterus
Laparoscopy to examine the structure of your abdomen and pelvis
Bone-density screening to evaluate the strength of your bones
X-rays; cultures; blood and urine tests; and
Pregnancy tests for women during their child-bearing years.
How is pelvic pain treated?
The treatment of your pelvic pain will vary depending upon its cause, how severe your pain is, and the frequency with which that pain occurs. Sometimes antibiotics may be necessary to treat your pelvic pain; in other instances, surgery or another procedure may be called for.
Once the underlying cause of your pelvic pain has been identified, your doctor will select treatments to eliminate that specific cause. In the event it was not possible to zero in on a specific cause for your pelvic pain, your doctor will develop a plan of action to manage your pain.
Appropriate medications may include over-the-counter medicines to provide some relief. Keep in mind, though, that the use of pain medication by itself is rarely able to solve chronic pain problems;. For some women, hormonal treatments may help relieve cyclic pain related to menstruation and ovulation. Antibiotics can help overcome an infection, and antidepressants are known to relieve some chronic pain syndromes.
As part of your treatment plan, your Orange County pain doctor may recommend: physical therapy including relaxation techniques, massage, stretching exercises, cold/heat applications, and exercises to strengthen pelvic-floor muscles; transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS); counseling to address emotional, social, or psychological challenges that may contribute to your pelvic pain; and trigger-point injections of localized, long-acting anesthetics to ease your discomfort and block your pain.
Corrective surgery may be necessary to address an underlying problem. Laparoscopic surgery can remove unwanted adhesions and endometrial tissue in the pelvic area. If all other treatment for a woman’s pelvic pain has been unsuccessful, a hysterectomy to remove the uterus may be appropriate.
What can I do to help manage my pelvic pain symptoms?
Pain can have a negative impact on your ability to cope with daily living. It may strike when you’re awake or asleep, at work or at home. It may be frustrating and depressing, causing fatigue and compelling you to avoid social situations.
Your pain management doctor in Orange County can work with you to develop a program of self-care to manage your discomfort. This may include over-the-counter medications to relieve pain temporarily.
Usually two needles are used to reach the plexus
Strategies to help manage your stress are also important because anxiety or stress caused by certain situations can aggravate your chronic pain. Stress-reduction and relaxation techniques often include exercise, deep-breathing techniques and meditation.