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Chronic Female Pelvic Pain - Exams and Tests

Although your condition may be diagnosed during your first exam, don't be surprised if you need to have a series of medical appointments and tests. For many women who have pelvic pain, diagnosing the cause is a process of elimination that takes a while.

Even if tests don't find any problems, it doesn't mean that there's no physical cause for your chronic pain. Tests aren't yet able to detect all causes.

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Initial tests

It's a good idea to make a calendar or diary of your symptoms(What is a PDF document?), menstrual cycle, sexual activity, and physical exertion. And keep track of any other things that you think are important, such as stressful events or illnesses. Bring it with you when you see your doctor.

To begin narrowing down the list of possible causes of your pain, your doctor will review your symptom diary and:

  • Ask about your health history. This includes the history of your menstrual cycle and any pelvic surgery, radiation treatment, sexually transmitted infection, pregnancy, or childbirth.
  • Do a pelvic exam to look for signs of abnormalities. You may also have a digital rectal exam. Your doctor may conduct these exams in a slower, more thorough manner than a routine pelvic exam, carefully checking for tender areas.

You may also have tests, such as:

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