Chronic pelvic pain in women is a common problem setting a major challenge to healthcare providers because of its unclear causes, involvement of complex body organs, and poor response to treatment, online resources report, quoting medical experts. This condition has become prevalent in the United States where 39 percent of women are of child-bearing age encounter these symptoms — with almost a half of them claiming to have decreased productivity at work, according to findings of a recent study.
Chronic pelvic pain may be defined as a non-cyclic pain occurring below the navel which may last from six months or more as opposed to acute pain which is shorter in duration. Pain experienced by the woman should be severe enough to affect her functional ability and may need medical attention.
Among the most common causes of chronic pelvic pain are the following:
Interstitial Cystitis (IC)
Probably the most common cause of chronic pelvic pain among women is interstitial cystitis or IC which is responsible for over 33 percent of all reported cases. This condition, which usually affects women in their 30s and 40s, has been traced to an inflammation of the bladder due to an infection. The exact cause of this disease has yet to be established although symptoms may be relieved by the use of antibiotics.
The need to urinate frequently which may be multiple times in an hour is the most common indication of this disorder. Painful urination, feeling of pressure above the pubic area, and pain during sex are other symptoms of interstitial cystitis.
Although found in females between the ages of 13 and 50, this condition is usually diagnosed in women in their 30s especially those who may have problems conceiving. Endometriosis has been characterized as the growth of endometrial tissues outside the uterus, usually in the bladder, fallopian tubes, ovaries, intestines, and other surrounding organs.
Endometriosis may not be considered life-threatening but this may cause extreme pelvic pain particularly during a woman’s period. This condition may also make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant due to scar tissues formed in the reproductive organs. Treatments are aimed at relieving symptoms since no cure has yet been discovered for this ailment.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Although not affecting the reproductive organs, irritable bowel syndrome or IBS may still cause severe and chronic pelvic pains to a woman. Medical experts agree that IBS is associated with digestive disorders although they have not yet identified the exact cause.
Recurring abdominal pain, bloating, cramps, diarrhea, or constipation are the usual symptoms although these may vary from one person to another. There are medications available to alleviate these symptoms but not to completely cure the disorder. This condition may also be addressed by other strategies such as diet changes and stress management.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Women who have given birth and those in the advancing years are most commonly affected by this condition. Pelvic organ prolapse or POP occurs when a pelvic organ such as bladder and uterus descends into a lower position. While this disorder may not be considered serious, it may be very disruptive and uncomfortable.
Among the indications of POP are chronic pain in the pelvic area, pressure against the vaginal wall, a feeling of being full in the lower belly, and pain during sex. Available options for the affected woman in managing this condition include pelvic exercises, lifestyle changes, medical devices, and even surgery. Vaginal mesh surgery which is among the options have become the subject of complaints in recent years due to alleged complications resulting from the used of these devices and has in fact led to numerous vaginal mesh lawsuits.