Treating Pelvic Pain in Women

Woman with Hands Holding her Crotch

Chronic pelvic pain is pain in the pelvic area that lasts for six months or longer. There are numerous potential causes of such pain, and identifying the cause may be difficult. It may be a symptom of another medical condition, or the pain itself may be a condition in and of itself.

A woman suffering chronic pelvic pain should schedule an appointment with her gynecologist. The gynecologist will try to determine the cause of pain through a pelvic exam, lab tests, ultrasound, and/or other imaging tests. She will look for evidence of conditions such as STIs, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or uterine fibroids. If a specific cause is determined, treatment will be catered to the underlying cause. If no underlying cause is found, treatment will focus on reducing symptoms and improving overall quality of life.

There are numerous theories on what causes Chronic Pelvic Pain (CPP). Studies suggest links between trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, and CPP, as well as connections between Depression and CPP. Some experts believe chronic inflammation is the culprit, while still others believe allergies may be to blame. Because of the number of possibilities of cause, a patient may have to try several different treatment methods before finding something that is effective.

There are many medications that may be prescribed to treat CPP. Painkillers are obviously an option for treating symptoms, but many doctors want to go further than simply treating symptoms. Depression may be a contributing factor for many women, so treating Depression is vital for these women. In addition to improving a woman’s overall well-being, some Depression medications (namely Effexor and Cymbalta) may reduce pain levels and increase pain tolerance. Some doctors also recommend the use of antiepileptic drugs, such as Neurontin, for treating CPP. Specialists who believe allergies contribute to CPP may also recommend allergy medications in combination with one or more of the medications mentioned above.

Supplemental therapies may also be recommended for CPP sufferers. Many specialists believe that continuing to stay active in spite of the pain may be an important step to conquering it. These women may be encouraged to engage in exercise regimens or prescribed physical therapy. If the patient suffers from Depression or has survived a traumatic experience, therapy is likely to be recommended. Specialized therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming (EMDR), may be specifically recommended to trauma survivors.

Finding the treatment that works best for you may be a long, frustrating process, but it is important to keep trying. If you have been experiencing severe pelvic pain or have had pain that has lasted six months or longer, call your gynecologist.

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