Do you have undiagnosed pelvic pain? You might be surprised to learn than many other women around you are having a similar experience and are battling ongoing pelvic pain.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that between 13% and 32% of all women experience pelvic pain that is severe enough to cause them to miss work and/or be unable to continue their daily routine. About 15% have pain that lasts 6 months or more.
However, 70% of women with chronic pelvic pain don’t seek treatment. At Maryland Vascular Specialists, we’d like to change that. We help women find answers about their pelvic pain.
What are the Symptoms of Pelvic Pain?
Women experience the symptoms and side effects of pelvic pain in a variety of ways that may change or worsen over time. Common symptoms of pelvic pain include:
- Dull, throbbing, or aching pain in the pelvis
- A feeling of heaviness within the pelvis
- Lower back pain that radiates deep within the body
- Increased pelvic pain while standing
- Pain during intercourse, menstrual periods, or pregnancy
- Irritable bladder and/or bowels
- Diarrhea and constipation
- Abdominal bloating
- Vaginal discharge
Pelvic pain often takes a mental and emotional toll on those who experience it. It can contribute to depression, mood swings, feelings of hopelessness, and extreme fatigue, especially when the pain is at its worst. This may be due in part to the impact of pain, stress, and cortisol within the body.
What Causes Pelvic Pain?
Pelvic pain can arise from many causes, which is why it’s so important to get a diagnosis from a medical specialist who knows how to pinpoint the root cause of your pain. You may need to see a combination of doctors including your primary care physician, your gynecologist, and a vascular specialist.
The Mayo Clinic associates more than 20 common medical conditions with pelvic pain. You may have one of these conditions or a combination of two or more that are contributing to the pain you feel.
The following conditions can contribute to pelvic pain:
- Pelvic Congestion Syndrome(PCS)
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Ovarian cysts
- Uterine fibroids
- Crohn's disease
- Inguinal hernia
- Interstitial cystitis
- Intestinal obstruction
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Kidney stones
- Ulcerative colitis
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Pregnancy-related conditions and miscarriages
- Cancers, including ovarian and colon cancer
- Dysmenorrhea (extreme menstrual cramping) and/or Mittelschmerz (ovulation pain)
- Structural or functional problems with the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor
- Past physical or sexual abuse
Could it Be Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS) is one of the top causes of pelvic pain, particularly pain that seems to come and go depending on whether you are standing or sitting for long periods of time. This may be caused by the compression of varicose veins in your pelvic area.
Women with PCS report very high and near-disabling levels of intermittent pain between 7.2 and 8.5 points on a 10-point pain scale. However, PCS is sometimes misdiagnosed unless the patient visits a vascular specialist who knows how to recognize the condition.
Do You Have Chronic Pelvic Pain?
Take our short quiz to find out if your pain may be caused by PCS.
If you suspect that you may have PCS, or if you’ve already seen your family doctor and gynecologist and still don’t have a diagnosis, please contact Maryland Vascular Specialists. We’re here to help you find a solution to your pelvic pain.