What is pelvic pain syndrome?
Pelvic pain syndrome, which may also be known as chronic pelvic pain, is a condition in which women have pain in their lower abdomen, often experienced during their menstrual cycle, but not exclusively. Pelvic pain syndrome is considered chronic if it lasts for more than six months, and must be assessed by a specialist as it can have multiple causes and possible treatments.
Treating pelvic pain syndrome can be quite complex as usually a multidisciplinary approach will need to be taken. Often treatment will require clinical treatment, such as surgery or medication, as well as psychological support services too. With treatment and management, women with pelvic pain syndrome can live their normal lives.
Symptoms of pelvic pain syndrome
The symptoms of pelvic pain may include:
- Pain that is constant with mild intensity or sharp and cramp-like like
- The pain may be continuous or intermittent
- The pain either be in a single point or the entire pelvic region
- The pain can be disabling and can interfere with the patient's daily activities
- Pain during menstruation
- Painful intercourse
Medical tests to diagnose pelvic pain syndrome
Pelvic pain syndrome can be diagnosed with a medical history, physical examination, as well as other diagnostic tests such as an ultrasound of the pelvic region or a laparoscopy.
What are the causes of pelvic pain syndrome?
The causes of pelvic pain syndrome can be varied and may be gynaecological, or otherwise.
Possible gynaecological causes of pelvic pain syndrome:
Possible other causes of pelvic pain syndrome include:
Treatments for pelvic pain syndrome
First of all the underlying cause of pelvic pain syndrome must be identified, and then a treatment plan can be put in place. For gynaecological causes of pelvic pain, treatment may involve hormone therapy, surgery, antibiotics (STIs), or minimally-invasive surgical procedures. For causes such as IBS, treatment may involve dietary changes and stress management.
Which type of specialist treats pelvic pain syndrome?
Pelvic pain syndrome will commonly be treated by gynaecologists, urologists, gastroenterologists or psychologists.