A woman’s pelvis carries an abundant array of organs, each with its own pathways of nerves. A problem with any of these organs can be translated by its nerves as pain.
Causes of Pelvic Pain
A woman’s pelvis carries structures representing urinary, gastrointestinal, genital, musculo-skeletal, lymphatic, vascular, and nervous systems. The pelvis carries the weight of the entire torso and upper body. It also carries the entire history of a woman’s sexuality, often resulting in muscular tenderness and psychological stress. Women who have been sexually abused have a much greater risk of pelvic pain. As you can see from this image, there are many pathways for the development of pelvic pain.
Diagnosing Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain receives highly individualized treatment at Academia. Diagnosis begins with a complete exploration of a woman’s personal and medical history, including endometriosis, infections, sexuality, surgeries that might have resulted in scarring, as well as an investigation of any malformations. When speaking with a woman with pelvic pain we map her symptoms to the potential organs/systems involved and orient our further evaluation toward areas that appear involved. Since any of a complex array of organs and nerves may be involved, physical examination and testing may include various forms of evaluation, including psychological, medical, radiographic, sonographic, and even endoscopic (laparoscopic or hysteroscopic). Our goal is to make a complex problem simple and identify specific areas of the woman as a whole that need support and treatment.
Treating Pelvic Pain
At Academia, approaches range from holistic to surgical. When necessary, our associates specializing in other branches of medicine may be involved. Our commitment is to treat a patient with pelvic pain without the use of narcotics. We prefer to identify and address the problem that led to its development and chronicity.
Depending on the cause, your treatment may include well-balanced approaches that are entirely non-invasive and can balance your body and mind, and enhance your sense of well-being:
- Teaching you how to relieve emotional stress
- Teaching you site-specific exercises to strengthen and relax pelvic muscles
- Counseling, biofeedback, and/or cognitive behavioral therapy
- Dietary changes
- More specific physical therapy
- General body exercises
The above techniques can be used by themselves or in combination with any of the approaches below:
Addressing a non-gynecologic condition with the specialist in the field involved
Oral contraceptives or progestins to suppress ovulation and decrease menstrual flow and associated inflammatory response
Other medications that affect the organs and tissues of the pelvis, starting with vaginal/vulvar creams, and following with medications that control interstitial cystitis
- Vulvar and vaginal surgery as needed
- Laparoscopic, hysteroscopic, and robotic approaches (endoscopic surgery) to treat pregnancy outside of the uterine body, adhesions, ovarian cysts, hydrosalpinx, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, pelvic floor disorders, malformation and other problems.
- Our goal is to improve your quality of life by addressing the source of pain medically or with minimally invasive surgical techniques, such as laparoscopy, and to eliminate the need for narcotic medications.
If you are suffering from chronic pelvic pain, please give Academia a call or make an appointment via this website (see Patient Portal). Pelvic pain should be treated as soon as possible. Not merely to avoid greater problems, but, just as important, to ensure that your day-to-day life is as wonderful and carefree as it should be.
Special Advice to Young Women & Men Reengaging in Sexual Activity
Please Avoid Infections! They are completely avoidable!
- A large percentage of pelvic pain is caused by sexually transmitted infections (STD), especially in younger women who have become sexually active. The best way to avoid such infections is to practice safe sex. Avoid sexual contact with men or women who have symptoms or who have multiple sex partners and may have been exposed to a STD. Having more than one sex partner at a time increases the risk of STDs. Always use a condom even when using other methods of contraception. Of course, the only sure way to avoid a STD Is is to abstain from sexual contact.
- See your doctor as soon as you notice frequent pelvic pain. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to solve the problem.
- Keep a calendar of your menstrual cycle, including any pain you feel during the month. You can download free mobile apps, like iPeriod Free (among others), to help you keep track. Bring it with you to your doctor.
A Special Note to Men:
Please take care of your health. If you notice pain during sex, during urination, or any other discomfort in the area of your sex organs, see your doctor as soon as you can. You will be protecting your own health as well as the health of the woman you love.