Pelvic pain is an all too common problem that is often under-recognized and undertreated. There are many possible reasons for this problem. Our pelvic health team can accurately identify the source of the problem and begin a treatment plan to improve patient pain and function.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) involves the pelvic muscles and can refer to either extremely weak or the opposite, extremely tight pelvic muscles. Both types can lead to difficulty with bladder and bowel control as well as pelvic pain. This condition may lead to difficulty performing simple daily activities and affect intimacy. Unfortunately, it is often not recognized by other women's healthcare providers.
Symptoms: Constipation, difficulty emptying the bladder, urinary or bowel incontinence, painful intercourse.
Treatment: Physical and behavioral therapy, medication, lifestyle modification, surgery.
Chronic Pelvic Pain
Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) is pain that is felt in the pelvic region lasting for more than 3 months. There can be several reasons for this problem. It can be related to other conditions including gynecologic tumors or masses or it can be associated with nerve dysfunction or problems with pelvic connective tissue.
Symptoms: Pain in the pelvis for greater than 3 months
Treatments: Vary depending on the source of the pain but may include medication, physical therapy, local injections, nerve stimulation, or even surgery.
Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors of the pelvis. Many women who experience symptoms have to take pain medications, take time off from work, or have a decreased quality of life. Most fibroids don't cause symptoms; only 10 to 20 percent of women who have fibroids require treatment.
Endometriosis occurs when the tissue of the uterine lining spreads to other areas outside the uterus. Often the symptoms are worse just before or during a woman's period.
Symptoms: Painful periods, pain with sexual activity, gastrointestinal and urinary pain.
Treatment: Physical therapy, medication, hormonal treatment, surgery.
A rare but very difficult to manage disorder that causes pain to the vaginal entrance and vulva. It is frequently misdiagnosed and can be difficult to treat. UI Health is a leader in this disorder and has several NIH studies in progress evaluating treatment options.
Symptoms: Pain to the outer vagina which may be worsened by clothing, activity, intercourse, tampon, or pad use.
Treatment: Behavioral and physical therapy, medication, alternative treatments such as acupuncture, rarely surgery.
Pain with intercourse or dyspareunia is a common condition that can cause problems with a woman's relationship, self-image, and emotional state. It can be caused by several treatable factors so prompt evaluation is needed.
Symptoms: Pain either before intercourse, with penetration, or afterward. Pain may be short-term or may last for hours or even days.
Treatments: Physical therapy, medication including hormonal therapy, correction of old birth injury, nerve stimulation therapy.