Pelvic pain is located between the belly button and hips. If it lasts for six months or more it is called chronic pelvic pain. It is often difficult to figure out what is the source of the pain. Pelvic pain can be caused by problems in the:
If you have chronic pelvic pain, it’s important to see your doctor.
Chronic pelvic pain can be caused by a wide variety of conditions, including:
These factors increase your chance of chronic pelvic pain. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
Since there are many causes of chronic pelvic pain, symptoms can vary. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be asked to keep a pain journal to help your doctor diagnose the pain. You will be asked to write down when your pain occurs, how it feels, and how long it lasts.
Once the source of your pain is identified, you may be referred to a specialist. Pelvic pain is best diagnosed and treated in a specialized clinic by a team of specialists.
Tests may include the following:
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Options include the following:
Chronic pelvic pain is treated based on what caused it:
The following have been used to treat pelvic pain:
In some cases interventional approaches, including nerve blocks, may be used.
Managing stress through counseling is helpful to many women with chronic pelvic pain.
There are numerous causes of pelvic pain. Many are treated with surgery. The type of surgery depends upon the specific problem.
Among ways to help reduce your chance of developing chronic pelvic pain, use methods to prevent contracting sexually transmitted diseases (such as using condoms), since symptoms of these diseases can be painful.
The American College
of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The International Pelvic Pain Society
National Pain Foundation
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
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Chronic pelvic pain. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayocli... . Accessed November 7, 2008.
Chronic pelvic pain, getting help. National Pain Foundation website. Available at: http://www.nationa... . Accessed November 7, 2008.
Chronic pelvic pain. The International Pelvic Pain Society website. Available at: http://www.pelvicpain.org/pdf/Patients/CPP_Pt_Ed_Booklet.pdf . Accessed November 7, 2008.
Levy BS. The complex nature of chronic pelvic pain. J Fam Pract . 2007 Mar;56(3 Suppl Diagnosis):S16-7. Review.
Pelvic Pain. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp099.cfm . Accessed November 7, 2008.
Last reviewed December 2011 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 12/30/2011