Many women – up to 25% – suffer from chronic pelvic pain, which includes pain in your lower abdomen, genital area, rectal area, and tail bone/lower back that lasts for six months or more. The causes for the pain can be many, which can make it difficult to diagnose.
Anastasia Hallisey, CNM, a certified nurse-midwife with Baystate Midwifery & Women’s Health, says the pain can be intense for many women, and have a moderate to severe impact on their daily lives.
Many women with chronic pelvic pain miss work or other activities regularly due to the pain. They may become less physically active, gain weight, have difficulty sleeping, and experience depression and anxiety. Even worse, says Hallisey, is that they are often told “it’s all in your head” or there’s nothing wrong with you.”
She stresses: “It is not normal to feel pain. Therapies exist that may provide relief.”
3 Common Causes of Pelvic Pain
There are many causes of pelvic pain, ranging from endometriosis to irritable bowel syndrome. Hallisey says the three most common causes seen in her practice are:
- menstrual cycle abnormalities, which can be caused by several conditions, and in which the pain is timed with a woman’s cycle;
- pain during sex (dyspareunia), which occurs during intercourse or sexual stimulation; and
- myofascial pain syndromes, in which pain occurs without evidence of disease.
Evaluation & Treatment
If you suffer from chronic pelvic pain, help is available. When you schedule an appointment with a pelvic pain specialist at Baystate, you will be asked to complete a detailed pain history, sent to your home before your first appointment.
During your appointment with the specialist – either a certified nurse-midwife or an obstetrician/gynecologist – we will review your history, and perform a physical exam. Sometimes, further imaging tests or lab tests will be ordered, to help determine the main cause of your pain.
The first appointment may last up to an hour, but treatment can sometimes begin immediately.
Depending on your condition, treatment may include medications, trigger point injections, physical therapy, or surgery.
Take the First Step
If you are suffering with chronic pelvic pain, take the first step toward relief. Talk to your women’s health provider, or call Baystate Wesson Women’s Group at 413-794-7045 to ask for an appointment with a pelvic pain specialist.