Pelvic Pain: Overview of symptoms, diagnosing, common causes, treatment options
Pelvic pain is a very common complaint among women of all ages. There are many reasons for pelvic pain, though some are not well understood. Endometriosis is found in roughly up to 80% of women with pelvic pain, but other reasons for pelvic pain include :
- Fibroids (leiomyomas)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (infection of the uterus, tubes and /or ovaries)
- Cervical stenosis
- Ovarian cysts
- Ovarian remnant syndrome
There are also other less common causes of pelvic pain from organs unrelated to the reproductive system such as the bowel, the urinary tract, the appendix, or pelvic muscles.
A woman with pelvic pain deserves a thorough evaluation starting with a detailed history and physical examination. Many times endoscopic evaluation is needed for the diagnosis. Additional work-up to rule out disorders of the urinary tract or large bowel may be indicated as well.
Teenagers with pelvic pain require special attention. A significant number of teenagers with pelvic pain have endometriosis. The diagnosis is often delayed because their families often interpret the typical symptoms of endometriosis such as pelvic pain, painful periods, and/or painful intercourse as normal. Occasionally women experience pelvic pain from their adolescent years on, and it is only when the disease has progressed or they have infertility that they seek medical care. Teenagers that suffer from severe menstrual cramps, miss school, or are deprived of their usual activities during menses need a thorough investigation to rule out endometriosis. An early diagnosis confirmed by minimally invasive procedures like laparoscopic surgery can help these women live a pain-free life and preserve their fertility.
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