Pelvic Pain 101 – The Basics of Pelvic Pain: Part 1

Pelvic pain can sound really serious and scary, and it’s likely that at some point you’ve experienced it.  It happens to be extremely common, but I understand that any sort of pain can impact your day to day, and chronic pelvic pains no joke.

So what exactly is chronic pelvic pain, and how do you know if you have it? For pelvic pain to be considered chronic, you need to have experienced pelvic pain for six months. While even one one day can feel like an eternity when you’re in pain,  six months establishes the constant nature of the pain. 

In medicine, we are constantly trying to find the solution to a problem. In order to know how to treat a problem, like pelvic pain, we have to find the cause for it. Although when many women think of pelvic pain, they think first of their female organs, like their ovaries or uterus, there are many other types of organs that are in that area that can cause pain. You can read about those other causes of pain in a later series.

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One of the biggest causes of chronic pelvic pain is endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition when tissue that is only supposed to be found in the uterine lining is found outside of the uterus, usually within the pelvis. It usually causes really painful periods but can also cause daily pain. There is a similar condition called adenomyosis, which is a condition that occurs when tissue from the uterine lining is found within other parts of the uterus and causes similar symptoms to endometriosis. 

Another cause of chronic pelvic pain is fibroids. Fibroids are growths within the uterus that can get quite large and cause pelvic pain, especially during periods. They are very common, especially among women of color. They are also associated with heavy bleeding and fertility issues.

Chronic Pelvic Inflammatory Disease can also cause pelvic pain. This is caused by bacterial infections that affect the uterus, fallopian tubes, and surrounding tissue which causes inflammation. Sometimes, due to the inflammation and infection, scar tissue can form. This all results in pain that can be really terrible to deal with.

If you’ve ever experienced pelvic pain, I would recommend seeing your gynecologist or primary care provider. We’re here to help and listen – there’s no reason you should be living in pain! Sometimes people in pain avoid seeing their doctor out of nerves or fear, so here’s what to expect. You will be asked about your medical history and details about your pain. This all to know what the source of your pain is and how to help you. There will be exams and testing, but this is all so that your medical provider can get all of the information to make sure you get the treatment you need. 

As always, feel free to get in touch – I’d love to connect with you! Stay tuned for more detailed articles in our Pelvic Pain series, where I’ll highlight pelvic pain conditions in more detail.