Pelvic Pain | Diagnosis & Treatment

How is pelvic pain diagnosed?

A physician will take a complete medical history and pelvic exam, and may recommend:

  • Imaging technology : Ultrasoundmagnetic resonance imaging (MRI)computerized tomography (CT) or abdominal X-rays help physicians detect endometriosis or other abnormalities.
  • Cultures : Swabs taken from her vagina or cervix may detect infection or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Laparoscopy: A thin tube with a camera attached to its end provides an effective way for a gynecologist to check for endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.

How is pelvic pain treated?

Your daughter's specific treatment depends on the cause of her pelvic pain. If the physician finds a cause, her treatment will be tailored to her condition. If there is no identifiable cause, her treatment will be focused on pain management strategies. Possible treatments include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Pain relievers: Over the counter or prescription pain medications can partially relieve pelvic pain. Usually, pain relievers alone don't fully treat pelvic pain.
  • Hormone treatments: If the pain is connected to the menstrual cycle, birth control pills or other hormonal treatments may be able to relieve the cyclical pain.
  • Antidepressants: Useful in a variety of chronic pain conditions, even if the patient isn'tdepressed. Certain antidepressants, such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor) among others have been found to relieve pain as well as depression.
  • Counseling: Psychological stress can manifest as pelvic pain in women. Counseling should be a part of treatment if she is coping with a personality disorder, sexual abuse, depression or troubled relationships.
  • Physical therapy: Stretching exercises, massage, heating or cooling pads or transcutaneous (TENS) nerve stimulation can help relieve pelvic pain.
  • Trigger point injections: If the pain is coming from a specific spot, your physician may suggest a direct injection of a long-lasting local anesthetic to ease the pain.
  • Nerve separation (ablation): Sometimes a miscommunication within the pathways of the nervous system causes pelvic pain. Treatments for this include using heat or lasers to destroy certain nerves, surgery to remove them or injections of medication to block nerve function.
  • Surgery: If endometriosis or pelvic adhesions are at the root of the pelvic pain, surgery to remove the problem could be the solution. During laparoscopic surgery, a physician makes small incisions in the abdomen with the help of a small camera attached to a tube. A hysterectomy is a last resort to relieve pelvic pain.