Pelvic pain is described as pain in the lower front part of the abdomen. It can be caused by organs related to the female reproductive system, but can be caused by other organ systems, and the bones, muscles and joints in this area. Pelvic pain in women can be attributable to a number of reasons:
- Menstral cramps
- Ovarian cysts
- Fibroid tumors
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Pelvic congestion
- Urinary tract infection -interstitial cystitis
- Rarely, gynecologic cancers
The cause of pelvic pain can be diagnosed using a number of methods and modalities. Most women will consult her physician/gynecologist, who will first perform a pelvic examination. Then, studies to image the anatomy or structures in the area of concern can be ordered:
- Ultrasound (or sonography) can be performed transabdominally or transvaginally.
- CT scan or MRI are often ordered.
Laparascopy can be performed to help make the diagnosis, and/or provide therapeutic relief of pain. This is surgery that is performed using the most minimally invasive techniques to allow for a faster recovery and return to normal activities. The procedure is performed through small incisions, most less than one centimeter long. Structures in the abdomen and pelvis can be visualized, and treatments can often be done at the same time. Even major surgery like hysterectomy can be performed using minimally invasive techniques. And patients may even go home on the same day of surgery.
Most pelvic pain is often treatable, and the prognosis is excellent. Some pain can recur, and become a chronic problem; as in endometriosis and interstitial cystitis. In these cases, medical therapies are useful and effective. The outcomes for pelvic pain due to gynecologic cancer are dependent on factors such as type of cancer, staging, availability of treatment.