Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Chronic Pelvic Pain

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Chronic Pelvic Pain

Chronic pelvic pain, pain that lasts six months or longer, affects up to 15% of women of childbearing age. The pain may stem from a number of sources, but they all lead to the same endpoint — moodiness, depression, and a constant feeling that you’re at odds with your body.

But no matter what the cause, pelvic pain isn’t something you should ignore. Because you don’t know the source, it could be trivial, or it could be something much more serious.

That’s where board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Hany H Ahmed comes in. He takes an evidence-based approach to women’s health and works diligently to evaluate your pelvic pain, identify its source, and treat it effectively so you can move on with your life. 

Just because you’re experiencing pelvic pain now doesn’t mean you have to live with it forever. Here’s what you need to know.

What causes pelvic pain?

Pelvic pain can be acute or chronic, is caused by a number of conditions, and may involve your reproductive organs, digestive system, and/or urinary system. Common causes include:

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection in the female reproductive organs, including the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. 

Normally, the cervix (the opening to the uterus) prevents vaginal bacteria from spreading to these organs. However, if the cervix is exposed to a sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, it becomes infected.

This provides an entry point for bacteria to reach the internal organs. The organs become inflamed, and the fallopian tubes may be damaged. This not only causes pelvic pain, but it can make it difficult to become pregnant.

Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors. They develop within the lining of your uterus, and they can range from small to the size of a cantaloupe, causing pressure, chronic pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and a bloated abdomen. 

The only time uterine fibroids cause sharp pain is when their blood supply is cut off and they begin to degenerate. You can have just one or many at the same time.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is the growth of uterine tissue outside your uterus. The tissue, though, still responds to your menstrual cycle as if it were inside the uterus, thickening, breaking down, and causing bleeding every month with your changing hormone levels.

Because this occurs outside your uterus, the discarded blood and tissue can't exit through the vagina. Instead, they remain in your abdomen, where they may cause painful cysts and bands of scar tissue.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a poorly understood intestinal problem that leads to constipation, diarrhea, or both. Either the intestines squeeze too hard or not hard enough, causing food to move too quickly or too slowly, respectively, and causing pain and achiness in the pelvic region.

Interstitial cystitis (IC)

IC is a chronic, painful bladder problem. The bladder wall becomes inflamed and irritated, leading to pelvic pain. In addition, the inflammation can scar the bladder or make it stiff; a stiff bladder can’t expand as it fills with urine, causing pressure and pain.

Pinpointing the problem

Early diagnosis may prevent the development of chronic pelvic pain, so if you’re experiencing any symptoms, it’s time to set up an appointment with Dr. Ahmed. 

When you come in for a consultation, he takes a detailed medical history and performs a comprehensive physical and pelvic exam. He may also order additional tests, including blood cell counts, STD or urinary tract testing, abdominal X-rays, ultrasound, CT scans, and/or MRIs.

In addition, Dr. Ahmed may choose to perform a laparoscopy. This minimally invasive surgical procedure uses a thin tube attached to a small camera (laparoscope) that allows him to look at the pelvic organs and check for signs of abnormal tissue structures and infection.

While the tube is inserted, Dr. Ahmed can repair any damage he discovers. This procedure has a good track record detecting endometriosis and chronic PID.

Finding the right treatment

Depending on what’s causing your pelvic pain, Dr. Ahmed may prescribe:

He may also suggest surgery, if your case warrants it, for fibroid removal or trimming an endometrial tissue overgrowth.

If you’re experiencing chronic pelvic pain, don’t ignore it! Waiting can make the problem worse, and Dr. Ahmed has treatments that can help. Give our office a call at 713-489-3348 to schedule a consultation, or book online with us today.

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