Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Chronic Pelvic Pain
Long-term pelvic pain can stop you in your tracks. Many women in the United States suffer from pelvic pain that lasts six months or more. Some women try to deal with the pelvic pain on their own before seeking medical attention.
But don’t go it alone! Dr. Jean-Gilles and our expert team at Abundant Life Healthcare are here to help you figure out what’s causing your chronic pelvic pain.
What is chronic pelvic pain?
Let’s start with a simple definition:
Chronic pelvic pain is a widespread pain in your pelvis, the area below your belly button and between your hips. Chronic means that you’ve been having this pain for six months or longer. This condition can happen on its own, or it may be a symptom of another condition or disease.
What are the symptoms of chronic pelvic pain?
The main symptom, and sometimes the only sign something is wrong, is pain. If you were asked to point to the pain, you would probably run your hand across your pelvic area rather than point to one specific spot.
Your pain may be severe or mild in intensity. It can be steady, or it may come and go. You may describe it in many different ways, like sharp, stabbing, cramping, or dull. It may happen only during your menstrual cycle, or it may bother you all the time.
You may feel like you have heaviness or pressure in your abdomen that won’t go away, and it may even get worse when you’re on your feet for a long time. The pain may happen during sex, urination, or bowel movements.
In other words, there’s no “normal” definition of pelvic pain. It varies greatly from one woman to the next, so don’t compare with your friends. If you have pain for more than six months, or it gets so severe that you can’t participate in your normal activities of life, like school or work, come see us.
Don’t ignore it
Because chronic pelvic pain can be caused by several different conditions, you shouldn’t ignore it. As a woman, you’re probably used to pain in your pelvic area related to menstrual cramps. But pain that doesn’t go away is different. Below are a few of the reasons you should not ignore chronic pelvic pain:
It can have many different causes
Chronic pelvic pain can be a symptom of conditions like endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome, uterine fibroids, or pelvic floor disorder. Each of these diagnoses is treated differently, so you need to have an exam to know exactly how to get better.
There may be more than one reason
Studies have found that many conditions causing chronic pelvic pain happen at the same time. For instance, you may have endometriosis and irritable bowel syndrome together. This can complicate the diagnosis and treatment.
Pelvic pain can affect your ability to become pregnant
The pain itself doesn’t change your ability to become pregnant, but some of the conditions that cause pain can. Endometriosis, pelvic adhesions, and uterine fibroids can change your chances of getting pregnant.
Chronic pelvic pain can affect your overall health
Pain and emotional health are connected. If you’ve been dealing with pain for a long time, you may also suffer from depression and anxiety. Doctors don’t understand exactly why these conditions happen together, but they do know that it’s common to see them in women with chronic pelvic pain.
Dealing with chronic pain can make you irritable and sad, and affect your overall quality of life. It’s important to learn how to cope with the pain and to figure out the underlying cause of your pain.
Time for an appointment
If you’ve been struggling with pain for six months or more or it’s getting worse, make an appointment to see Dr. Jean-Gilles. Before your appointment, here are few things you can do to be prepared:
- Make a list of your symptoms, including any issues that may seem unrelated. Also, write down anything that makes your symptoms better or worse.
- List any major life changes, such as stress, new medications, recent diagnoses, or other health-related changes.
- Make a list of questions. We want you to leave the appointment knowing all your questions have been answered, and sometimes it’s hard to remember everything. Jotting down a quick list will help.
If your pelvic pain is making life difficult, we don’t want you to suffer any longer. Call our office or request an appointment online today to get to the bottom of your chronic pelvic pain.