The type of pelvic pain that females experience varies from patient to patient. The pain may be characterized as acute (recent onset), chronic (longer than 6 months), sporadic, constant, or related to menstrual periods. Some symptoms of pelvic pain include:
Because there are several causes of pelvic pain, it oftentimes may require an extensive workup and several doctors’ visits. This is important to keep in mind when planning for your appointment. During your initial visit, your doctor will typically perform a complete pelvic exam to check for any abnormalities in the reproductive system. The doctor will also ask you questions about your past and present health conditions and the symptoms you are having.
Some diagnostic tests that may be ordered include a blood or urine sample to check for any infection and a pregnancy test.
Imaging that may be ordered include a pelvic ultrasound, an MRI of the pelvis and/or a CT of the pelvis. A pelvic ultrasound is the best tool to diagnose pelvic masses, ovarian cysts, and fibroids. An MRI may be necessary if the doctor suspects you may have endometriosis or adenomyosis, although endometriosis and adenomyosis cannot be diagnosed through MRI. A CT scan may be necessary if your doctor suspects diverticular disease, or a mass in the pelvis, colon, or bladder.
If the doctor suspects you have endometriosis or adenomyosis after completing a MRI, a laparoscopic surgery may be necessary. A laparoscopy is the most common procedure performed in the operating room to diagnose and possibly remove mild to moderate endometriosis. This procedure will allow the doctor to visualize the internal organs to look for endometriosis and other possible problems that may be causing the pelvic pain.
Instead of using a large abdominal incision, the surgeon will use a laparoscope which is a small camera inserted through a small incision in the belly button or lower abdomen. The surgeon will then examine the internal organs to check for endometriosis. If endometriosis, pelvic adhesions or scar tissue are visible, the surgeon will remove it during your surgery. Following the procedure, the surgeon will close the incision(s) with a few stiches. The procedure typically has minimal downtime and the patient usually has little to no scarring.
If your doctor diagnoses you with a specific problem that is causing your pain, you will be treated for that problem. Common treatments for pelvic pain patients in Cleveland include:
If the cause of your pelvic pain remains unknown after a complete workup, there are several other treatment options that you and your doctor may explore, including:
Every patient is unique and may respond to treatments differently than someone else. You may need to try several different treatment options before you find what is the best to control your discomfort. Be patient, and if things are not working well, ask your doctor what other options are available for you. Your doctor will only know if your treatment is not working when you inform he/she, therefore make sure you are taking an active role in your treatment and advocating for yourself. Therefore, if you have more questions about pelvic pain treatment in Cleveland, schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Lyndhurst or Westlake.