Pelvic Pain Isn't Something You Should Endure

Up to 15% of women of childbearing age experience pelvic pain that lasts longer than six months, making it a chronic and distressing condition. 

The pain can come from a wide variety of sources, but the end result is the same — you’re uncomfortable, you get moody or depressed, and you feel a bit hopeless that things will ever change. 

But pelvic pain isn’t something you have to endure. Dr. Hany H Ahmed is an experienced OB/GYN who takes an evidence-based approach to women’s health. He works diligently to evaluate your condition, identify the source of your pelvic pain, and treat it effectively. 

He wants you to know that just because you’re experiencing pelvic pain now, it doesn’t mean you have to live with it. Here’s what you need to know.

The causes of pelvic pain

Pelvic pain in women is either acute or chronic and develops from a number of causes. It may involve your reproductive organs, digestive system, and/or urinary system.

Acute pelvic pain has a sudden onset and may be caused by:

Chronic pain — pain lasting at least six months — may be caused by:

Of the chronic causes, Dr. Ahmed most often sees uterine fibroids and endometriosis.

Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors that develop within the lining of your uterus. They can cause pressure, chronic pelvic pain (more of a dull ache), a “heavy” feeling in your lower abdomen, heavy menstrual bleeding, and a bloated abdominal area. 

The only time they cause sharp pain is when they’re deprived of a blood supply and begin to degenerate. They range from small to large, and you can have one or many at the same time.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where uterine tissue grows outside your uterus. The tissue responds to your menstrual cycle in the same way your uterine lining does — it thickens, breaks down, and causes bleeding every month as your hormone levels rise and fall.

Since this all occurs outside your uterus, the blood and tissue can't leave your body through the vagina. Instead, they stay in your abdomen, where they can cause painful cysts and fibrous bands of scar tissue known as adhesions.

Diagnosing the problem

In addition to taking a detailed medical history and performing a comprehensive physical and pelvic exam, Dr. Ahmed may order some additional tests, including blood cell counts, STD or UTI testing, ultrasound, abdominal X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.

He may also choose to perform a laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure where he inserts a thin tube attached to a small camera (laparoscope), allowing him to view the pelvic organs and to check for signs of infection or for abnormal tissue structures.

He can also repair any damage he finds. Laparoscopy is particularly useful in detecting endometriosis and chronic PID.

Finding the right treatment

Depending on the cause of your pelvic pain, Dr. Ahmed may prescribe:

Pain medications

The first recommendation may be for over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. All may provide some relief from your symptoms. Sometimes a prescription pain reliever is required. 

You should be aware, though, that pain meds alone hardly ever resolve chronic pain.

Antibiotics may prove useful if the cause of your pain stems from an infection, such as PID or a sexually transmitted disease.

Although the conditions may seem unrelated, some antidepressants can help manage chronic pain as well as depression. The tricyclic antidepressants — e.g., amitriptyline and nortriptyline (Pamelor) — seem to have pain-relieving properties even if you don’t suffer from depression.

Hormone treatments

If you find that your pelvic pain coincides with a particular phase of your menstrual cycle, birth control pills or other hormonal medications targeted to that phase may ease your symptoms.

Surgery

Surgery is usually a last-resort therapy, but it may be necessary for Dr. Ahmed to remove a uterine fibroid or trim endometrial tissue overgrowth.

Just because you have pelvic pain, it doesn’t mean you have to buck up and endure it. There are treatments that can help. Give Dr. Ahmed a call at 713-489-3348, or schedule your consultation online today.

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