Chronic Female Pelvic Pain - Topic Overview
Emotional issues can play a big role in chronic pain.
Your doctor may ask questions to find out if depression or stress is adding to
your problem. You may also be asked about any past or current sexual or
physical abuse. It can be hard to talk about these things, but it's important
to do it so you can get the right treatment.
If the first tests
don't find a cause, you may have other tests that show pictures of the organs
in your belly. These may include:
You may also have a type of
minor surgery called
laparoscopy (say "lap-uh-ROS-kuh-pee"). In this
surgery, the doctor puts a thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera through a
small cut in your belly. This lets the doctor look for problems like growths or
scar tissue inside your belly.
Finding the cause of pelvic pain
can be a long and frustrating process. You can help by keeping notes about the
type of pain you have, when it happens, and what seems to bring it on. Show
these notes to your doctor. They may give clues about what is causing the
problem or the best way to treat it.
If your doctor found a problem
that could be causing your pelvic pain, you will be treated for that problem.
Some common treatments include:
- Birth control pills or hormone treatment for
problems related to your periods.
- Surgery to remove a growth,
cyst, or tumor.
- Medicine to treat the problem, such as an
antibiotic for infection or medicine for irritable
Chronic pain can become a medical problem in itself.
Whether or not a cause is found, your doctor can suggest treatments to help you
manage the pain. You may get the best results from a combination of treatments
- Pain relievers called
NSAIDs, like ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) or
naproxen (such as Aleve). You can buy these
over the counter, or your doctor may prescribe
stronger ones. These medicines work best if you take them on a regular
schedule, not just when you have pain. Your doctor can tell you how much to
take and how often.
- Tricyclic antidepressant medicine, which can
help with pain and with depression.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy or
biofeedback, to help you change the way you think
about or react to pain.
- Counseling, to
give you emotional support and reduce stress.
You may need to try many treatments before you find the
ones that help you the most. If the things you're using aren't working well,
ask your doctor what else you can try. Taking an active role in your treatment
may help you feel more hopeful.