When it comes to diagnosing the cause of your pelvic pain, the first question to answer is: Where is it located?
The pelvic region encompasses the area between your belly button and your hips, and all the organs in between. Pelvic pain can affect your digestive, urinary, reproductive, or musculoskeletal system. Determining what’s causing your pelvic pain can be challenging because often there is more than one condition affecting more than one organ.
At Ozark OB/GYN in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Donald R. Jones, III, MD, FACOG can expertly diagnose the cause of your pain through a compassionate and comprehensive office visit that may include a family and medical history, a physical exam, and advanced diagnostic tools.
Common causes of pelvic pain include:
Endometriosis is a common condition that affects about 10% of women of childbearing age worldwide. This painful condition occurs when tissue that usually grows inside your uterus, called the endometrium, grows outside it instead. When this tissue thickens and sheds outside your uterus — just as it would inside your uterus — the blood has nowhere to drain. This can build up and form scar tissue in your pelvic area, causing pain and infertility.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder thought to be caused by changes in the nerves and muscles that control sensation and motility of your bowel. Although research suggests it affects 10-15% of the adult population, only between 5-7% have been diagnosed.
Fibroids, also called leiomyomas and myomas, are non-cancerous growths that form on muscle cells within the walls of the uterus. The majority of women will experience a fibroid by the time they’re 50. Some fibroids cause no symptoms at all while others, depending on their size and location, may cause heavy vaginal bleeding, abdominal, urinary issues, and constipation.
This condition, also called painful bladder syndrome, can cause pain and pressure around your bladder as well as the need to urinate frequently or urgently. Symptoms usually subside after you’ve emptied your bladder.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is usually caused by untreated sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. PID is an infection of pelvic organs, which includes the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and cervix. Sometimes, PID has few or mild symptoms. At other times, symptoms may include abdominal pain, vaginal discharge, pain or bleeding during sex, and bleeding between menstrual cycles.
Urinary tract infections
About half of all women will develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in their lives. About a third of all women will experience another UTI within six months of their initial infection. Symptoms of UTIs include pain or stinging while urinating, pressure in your abdomen, the need to urinate more frequently or urgently, and foul-smelling urine. You may also experience fever or back pain.
Pelvic pain treatment options
While pelvic pain is common among women, there are many treatment options. At Ozark OB/GYN, Dr. Jones first diagnoses the cause of your pain or discomfort and then prescribes a personalized treatment plan to help you find relief.
Treatment options depend on your condition(s) but can include hormone therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, laparoscopic surgery, and, in some cases, a hysterectomy.
If you’re experiencing pelvic pain, call Ozark OB/GYN for an appointment today.