Pelvic Pain In Women : Tests & Treatment
Chronic pelvic pain may be defined as the pain occurring below the umbilicus that persists for at least six months. The condition is more commonly seen in reproductive-aged women, around 26-30 years of age.
Pelvic pain can be constant or intermittent. Constant pain is the outcome of a number of problems while intermittent pelvic pain is usually due to a specific cause.
Tests & Diagnosis
Diagnosis of Pelvic Pain may require a thorough history and examination followed by blood tests, urine tests and an ultrasonography. Additional tests like CT scan may be required.
Laboratory Tests: The commonly recommended tests include urine routine and microscopic examination to find out any hidden infection, blood test for leukocyte count, tests to rule out sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy tests.
Pelvic Ultrasonography: Pelvic ultrasound is very significant diagnostic method for detecting pelvic masses, ovarian cysts, fibroids and endometriosis. Sonography is a highly accurate technique in making diagnosis of the causes of pelvic pain. A vaginal ultrasound probe maybe used besides the abdominal ultrasound.
Laparoscopy: In situations where it is difficult to rule out conditions like endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease, laparoscopy is done to find the exact cause. Laparoscopy can be done as a day procedure. A thin laparoscope with attached small camera is introduced in the patient’s abdomen via a small incision just below the umbilicus. Direct visualization is possible with this diagnostic technique.
The pain related to pelvic region can be treated by following ways:
1. Analgesics- They are also known as pain killers or pain relievers. They are employed in reducing pain and inflammation. NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs like ibrufen or aspirin have analgesics as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
2. Antibiotics- Pelvic pain caused due to any underlying infection is well treated with antibiotic medication. The most suitable antibiotic is decided by the antibiotic sensitive tests.
3. Antidepressants- Whether the patient is depressed or not, the treatment of chronic pelvic pain often requires the administration of antidepressants.
4. Hormonal Medicines- They are given if the pelvic pain is associated with menstrual cycle. This adjusts the hormonal balance in the body.
5. Muscle Relaxants- Spasmodic muscular pain may be relieved by the use of muscle relaxants. These relaxants effectively relax the muscles and reduce pain and spasm.
6. Trigger Point Injections-Steroidal injections are used in treating myofascial abdominal wall pain. Anesthetic injections may also be used which make the area numb and reduced local inflammation.
7. Physical Therapy- Application of different methods to reduce pain come under physical therapy like, heat, cold, pressure application or use of massages. Stretching exercises also prove to be effective in relieving pelvic pain.
8. Relaxation Therapy: Relaxation therapy calms down the brain and relieves both physical and mental stress. It is quite effective in reducing pain.
9. Surgical Treatment: In cases, where adhesions are the cause of pelvic pain, surgery is done to remove adhesions. Once adhesions are removed, pain tends to subside.