FAQ’s on Pelvic Pain
What is Pelvic Pain?
Pelvic pain is pain occurring anywhere in the area of the body located between the belly button and the area above the hips. There may be additional pain felt in the surrounding areas, such as the lumbar region of the spine (the lower back) in addition to pain that is felt in the pelvis. Women are at increased risk of experiencing pelvic pain at some point during their life. This is largely in part to the fact that women face many more potential causes of pelvic pain due to unique reproductive complications they may encounter.
What are the causes of Pelvic Pain?
Nearly any condition a patient has in the pelvic or lumbar spine can cause pain to be felt in the pelvic area. Some of the direct causes of pain include the presence of infection in any of the abdominal organs, irritable bowel syndrome, cramping, constipation, and endometrial growth (occurring much more frequently in women).
Pelvic pain may also be resulting as a secondary symptom due to the presence of a condition in the lumbar spinal region (the lower back). Pain commonly occurs when one or more of the spinal nerves providing sensation to the pelvis have been affected, either through direct damage or compression. An afflicted spinal nerve may produce pain or weakness in addition to pain.
What are the symptoms of Pelvic Pain?
The exact symptoms of pain patients will experience are based on what the root cause of their pain is. Some of the symptoms shared amongst multiple causes include general feelings of pain in the pelvic region, which may occur as a throbbing or stabbing pain in the pelvis. Symptoms may also form as a feeling of internal pressure on the pelvic organs. Symptoms of pain may fade and return, or may only be felt during certain activities or movements. Some patients may experience pain in their bladder, with surges of pain causing a sudden need to empty ones bladder.Women may experience symptoms that differ than when felt in a male.
How is Pelvic Pain diagnosed?
The diagnosis for pelvic pain will be achieved with through a complete evaluation of the patient with a focus on their medical history, the symptoms that are present, and the events leading up to the presence of symptoms. A complete list of symptoms, however minor, can help to more rapidly achieve diagnosis by narrowing down the possibly causes of pain. There are a large number of conditions that have shared symptoms however, meaning patients might find their diagnosis having a physical examination component.
The diagnostic technique used most often in cases where pain is near the abdomen is a laparoscopy, which uses a small lighted tube to view a patient’s internals. A small incision will be made for the insertion of the tube, which is a very reliably way to examine the abdomen and pelvis for possible causes such as tissue damage, infection, or undesired tissue growth.
It is also common for the physician to use imaging techniques to view the pelvis. An X-ray will be used to examine for physical damage as a possible cause, with an MRI or CT scan uses to examine if tissue damage or infection is present. An MRI or CT scan can also reveal if one or more spinal nerve roots are the probable sources of pain.
What are the treatment options for Pelvic Pain?
The exact treatments available to patients will vary based on the symptoms present. Some of the most common methods of treatment include pain medication and medication for inflammation, but may also be antibiotics for patients with pain due to infection. Pain resulting from an afflicted spinal nerve root may be eligible for a therapeutic nerve block.