Chronic Female Pelvic Pain - What Happens
Experts have yet to understand
all possible causes of
female pelvic pain, particularly when it has become
chronic. For this reason, the cause of pelvic pain sometimes remains unknown,
even after a lot of testing. This does not mean that there is no cause behind
the pain. Fortunately, even without knowing the
cause, there is available treatment for relieving the pain.
Because female pelvic pain can be caused by one or more conditions, its
course can have just as many variations.
- When a cause is readily diagnosed and treated,
such as an
ovarian cyst, pain is most likely to be
- For pain that is hard to diagnose, your doctor can do a number of tests to rule out various medical conditions.
Your doctor may also try certain treatments to see whether they
work, which can also help with diagnosis.
- When a diagnosed cause is
hard to treat, such as
endometriosis, your pain may have an unpredictable
- For pain that is undiagnosed after a lot of testing, you
and your doctor can consider several types of pain relief options
that are known to help relieve chronic pain.
In some cases, pain that lasts 4 to 6
months can become chronic pain, which is a medical condition in itself. Even after the cause of pain has been treated, the affected
nerves don't stop transmitting pain signals. This is called neuropathic pain, a
type of chronic pain. When chronic pain has set in, it's possible that
treatment will manage the pain yet not cure it.
About half of women with chronic pelvic pain report a
history of sexual or physical abuse.1 Although it is
not well understood, past or current abuse is strongly linked to chronic pelvic
pain. If you have a history of abuse, counseling is recommended as part of your
pain treatment plan.