The pelvis is the lowest part of the abdomen, and pelvic pain is a form of chronic pain that can happen for a variety of reasons. Although pelvic pain can occur in both men and women, it is very rare for it to become a frequent problem for men. This pain is felt in the area below the bellybutton, and can take different forms.
For some it will be very mild and more akin to discomfort rather than pain. For others it will be severe and stabbing. The strength of the pain and the length of time it lasts vary, with some reporting that it passed in a matter of moments while others state that it went on for months. However, it is extremely important that you report any pelvic pain to your Doctor, regardless of how minute it may seem to you. Sudden and unexpected pelvic pain is known as acute pelvic pain, while recurrent pelvic pain is known as chronic pelvic pain.
Acute Pelvic Pain
If you experience acute pelvic pain you need to contact your Doctor immediately, as it could be a sign that something serious is wrong. There are a number of reasons why one might experience acute pelvic pain, and the following are among those deemed most common.
– A urinary tract infection causes irritation to the bladder and surrounding area. If you have a UTI you will find that you need to urinate more often, and it will tend to be accompanied by a burning sensation.
– Pelvic inflammatory disease is a bacterial infection that affects the womb, ovaries or fallopian tubes. This infection is very common in women who have recently had Chlamydia or gonorrhoea. Pelvic inflammatory disease can be very damaging to the womb and should be treated with antibiotics.
– Ovarian cysts develop in and around the ovaries, and consist of a sac filled with fluid that causes pain in the pelvis when it is twisted or burst. In many cases the ovarian cyst will need to be removed to stop the pain from occurring.
– A pelvic abscess is the build up of pus between the vagina and womb. This condition requires immediate treatment in a hospital and can be very serious.
– Varicose veins cause pelvic congestion, which can lead to extreme discomfort.
Chronic Pelvic Pain
Chronic pelvic pain lasts for six months or more, and can be continuous or sporadic. This type of chronic pain is far stronger than regular period pain and lasts for a longer period of time. Around one in six women are affected by chronic pelvic pain, and the following are among the most common symptoms.
– Pelvic inflammatory disease can also develop into a long-term condition.
– Endometriosis is a condition in which tiny pieces of the lining of the womb are found on the outside of the womb. This can cause extreme discomfort and pain during sexual intercourse.
– Irritable bowel syndrome is a very common function disorder of the stomach and bowel, which can result in a variety of problems including cramps, constipation and diarrhoea.
Diagnosis and Treatment
As pelvic pain is more of an umbrella term used to unite a variety of conditions and diseases, diagnosis can take several weeks to determine what exactly is wrong. Doctors will start by examining the patient’s medical history and they will look specifically for incidents related to the aforementioned conditions.
A number of tests may need to be taken before it can be confirmed what the problem is. Bladder and bowel patterns will be investigated, as will a psychological profile to decide if the patient suffers from a nervous disposition. If these tests yield no results then scans and x-rays may have to be undertaken as the pain could be stemming from an irritated bowel, nerve or joint.
Treatment for chronic pelvic pain is dedicated to identifying the cause and managing the psychosocial effects. It is very important that the Doctor explains the nature of the pelvic pain to the patient, and discusses how it affects them and their daily life. Helping the patient to realize that pelvic pain is a common issue around the world allows them to minimize the effect it has on their well being and confidence.
It’s a very good idea for the individual to maintain a symptom diary detailing their experiences with the condition, as this can be used by the Doctor to identify suitable treatments. This is also another good way for the individual to reduce the effect it has on their confidence, and will encourage them to feel less helpless during periods of discomfort or pain.
The Doctor may find that the patient has an underlying disorder that is causing the pelvic pain to flair up, and if this is the case then appropriate steps can be taken to treat this disorder. This can include things like anxiety or depression, and both talking therapy and prescription medication can be used in this instance. People with severe chronic pelvic pain will most likely take a course of painkillers and other medicine to help regulate the problem.
Chronic pelvic pain is very common among women and can stem from a number of different causes. Pelvic pain is divided into two groupings. Acute pelvic pain occurs in intervals and consists of sharp fleeting pains. Chronic pelvic pain is long lasting and continuous.
Regardless of which category is experienced and the severity of the pain, any person who believes that they are suffering from pelvic pain should visit their local Doctor. There is a multitude of causes and it’s important to identify the problem and treat it appropriately. Ignoring the problem will cause it to worsen and something serious could develop.