Chronic pelvic pain is discomfort in your pelvic area that persists for at least six months. The pain can be dull, sharp, mild, or severe. It can come and go or plague you all the time. It’s estimated that chronic pelvic pain affects nearly 15% of women of childbearing age in the United States.
At Serrano OBGyn in San Antonio, Texas, Christopher Serrano, MD, wants you to live pain-free. You should never ignore chronic pelvic pain, which can indicate serious medical conditions that require treatment. Here’s what you should know.
Possible causes of chronic pain
A variety of conditions affecting the reproductive and digestive systems can cause chronic pelvic pain, including:
Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease
Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease typically results from a chronic sexually transmitted disease (STD) infection that causes scarring on your pelvic organs. Sometimes, chronic pain is the prime indicator of an STD.
Endometriosis is a medical condition in which the lining tissue in the womb grows outside of your uterus. During your period, this tissue swells and bleeds and can cause a great deal of pain and other complications.
Fibroids are abnormal, noncancerous growths in the walls of the uterus. Fibroids can vary in size, but bigger fibroids are more likely to cause heavy bleeding and pelvic pain.
Ovarian cysts or ovarian remnant
Ovarian cysts are common, and most don’t lead to symptoms — many women don’t realize they have them. However, sometimes cysts can cause pelvic pain that can become chronic if left untreated.
Ovarian remnant is a rare condition that results after one or both ovaries are removed but leave behind a small ovary piece or pieces, which develop one or more cysts.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a common chronic condition that can cause pelvic and abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
Painful bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis)
This chronic problem causes you to urinate more frequently but with less urine. This causes bladder pressure and pain, and even pelvic pain.
Pelvic congestion syndrome
Pelvic congestion syndrome, which causes chronic pelvic pain, results from problems with enlarged veins in your pelvic area.
How your chronic pain is diagnosed
Because so many conditions can cause chronic pelvic pain, a diagnosis often depends on the process of elimination. When you visit Dr. Serrano, he asks you about your medical and family history, which helps him determine what exams and procedures to use.
Possible tests include pelvic exams, lab work, ultrasounds and other imaging tests, and laparoscopy. Once he determines the problem, he can recommend a treatment plan that gets to the root of the problem to relieve your pain.
If you’ve suffered pelvic pain for more than six months, it’s time to do something about it. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away, and it can mean your condition gets worse and interferes with your life. To make an appointment at Serrano OBGyn, call our office at 210-761-5309.