Many women suffer from chronic pelvic pain and aren’t sure what it is and why it’s happening to them. And most of them have heard that the solution is surgery which scares them. That isn’t necessarily true, and surgery is not recommended in most cases. Let’s start at the beginning and clear up some myths about chronic pelvic pain by first understanding what the causes of chronic pelvic pain are, what the symptoms are, and what treatment options are available.
What is chronic pelvic pain?
If your pain is below your bellybutton and between your hips and lasts for at least six months, you are most likely experiencing chronic pelvic pain. This pain can have a big impact on all aspects of your quality of life, including your sex life as intercourse may be very painful. The pain can go from dull aches to severe pain that disrupts your sleep.
What are the causes of pelvic pain?
There are a variety of causes, ranging from endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia, uterine fibroids, and vulvar/vaginal atrophy to name the most common.
- Endometriosis: Endometriosis is the result of tissues that would normally grow inside the uterus, and that begin to grow outside of it. Menstruation and sex become very painful with this condition. Another result of endometriosis is difficulty in becoming pregnant.
- Interstitial Cystitis: This condition is also known as painful bladder syndrome. The symptoms are pain in the bladder and a need to frequently urinate.
- Vulvodynia: This is when the vulva experiences chronic discomfort. It could be in in the form of burning, stinging, rawness, throbbing, and swelling.
- Uterine Fibroids: These are pelvic tumors that commonly cause heavier and longer than normal menstrual periods, pressure, and pain.
- Vulvar/Vaginal Atrophy: This occurs due to the thinning of the vaginal walls as a result of a reduction in estrogen. The lining of the vagina becomes drier, thinner, and painful.
What treatments are available?
Surgery isn’t always the answer. Laparoscopy is the preferred option in most cases. Laparoscopy allows the doctor to see the entire interior of the abdomen and pelvis via a small, noninvasive incision. This option is less painful with a shorter recovery period and less scarring. Therapy, including the prescribing of antibiotics, is another option that in some cases can be used on its own and in other instances combined with laparoscopic surgery. These are some options to discuss with your doctor who will walk you through each of the procedures.
The important fact to take away is that you don’t have to live with pain! Dr. Vahora is experienced in all aspects of pelvic pain and will work with you to find the ideal solution for your chronic pelvic pain. Don’t spend another day in pain!