Pelvic Pain in Women Can Often Be Traced to Three Top Conditions

Proper diagnosis provides women peace of mind, better quality of life

TROY, Ohio (September 25, 2018) – Women suffering from chronic pelvic pain can often struggle for months before finding out its root cause. However, one local physician said the universal symptom can often be traced back to three main causes.

“Chronic pelvic pain usually meets three distinct symptoms,” said Larry Holland, DO, an OB/Gyn physician with Premier Women’s Center. “It’s a chronic issue that has been present for at least six months, is usually located below the belly button and has a significant impact on a woman’s daily life.”

Dr. Holland, who practices with Premier Physician Network, said chronic pelvic pain is often associated with endometriosis, dysmenorrhea and pelvic inflammatory disease. Each condition manifests in its own unique way and at least two of them may be linked to infertility.

Endometriosis – This condition occurs when tissue that is normally on the inside of a woman’s uterus grows outside of her womb where it doesn’t belong. Endometriosis growths bleed in the same way as the tissue inside of a uterus. This can cause swelling and pain because the blood doesn’t have an easy way to exit the body, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. About 11 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 will experience this condition and some will suffer infertility because of it.

Dysmenorrhea – This condition is the most commonly reported menstrual disorder, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG). More than one half of women who menstruate have some pain for one to two days each month.

Pelvic inflammatory disease – This disease is the infection of a woman’s reproductive organs. It is a complication often associated with sexually transmitted diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About one in eight women with a history of this disease will have trouble conceiving, the CDC said.

 Most of these conditions can cause chronic pain that lasts all month long or just during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Chronic pelvic pain can often leave women feeling frustrated and confused because the root cause goes undiagnosed.

“Many of the patients we see may have seen multitudes of doctors in the past and have been told the pain is in their heads, it’s related to their GI system or their bladder,” Dr. Holland said. “But the type of pelvic pain we are talking about is most often made worse by a woman’s menstrual cycle.”

Pelvic pain is treated in a variety of ways and is dependent on the condition that is causing the pain and a woman’s stage of life. Over-the-counter medications, such as Motrin, may be all it takes to help relieve the symptoms from a painful period. 

However, surgical options may be a consideration if the pain persists and a woman is beyond her childbearing years for both endometriosis and dysmenorrhea. This may include a Thermal Ablation, which destroys the lining inside a woman’s uterus. It may also include a more definitive surgical intervention such as a hysterectomy.

The goal in treating pelvic inflammatory disease is to target the infection with the use of antibiotics in hopes of reducing the risk of adhesion formation inside a woman’s pelvis. Unfortunately, surgical intervention is the only option once the adhesions form, Dr. Holland said.

“Every woman who experiences pelvic pain should consult with her health care provider sooner rather than later,” he said. “Together they can work to properly diagnosis and treat the cause of the pain, and hopefully help a woman regain the quality of life that she felt as if she has lost.”

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