Coping with pelvic pain

Mariam Salisu, MD

Any degree of discomfort that occurs between your belly button and upper thighs is considered to be “pelvic pain.” It may seem easy to diagnose, as the pain is located in a smaller area of the body. However, this pain could be caused by a wide variety of things and can chronically affect women at any age.


Causing My Pelvic Pain?

For women, this could be due to ovarian cysts or fibroids, pelvic floor issues, endometriosis, or a side effect from pregnancy. While it may seem that female organs are the most likely source of pelvic pain, it can come from other systems that cohabitate that area of the body. They include the gastrointestinal, renal, nervous, or musculoskeletal systems.

Specific issues could be:

— UTIs or bladder infection

— Kidney issues

— Appendicitis

— Various cancers

If your pain doesn’t go away within a couple of days, if it comes back after going away, you are urinating more often, have diarrhea for multiple days, or you have unintentionally lost weight, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Treatment Options

The first step to treatment is determining the correct diagnosis of your pelvic pain. When you meet with your doctor, he or she will ask you several detailed questions and have you undergo a pelvic exam. In addition to this exam, lab tests, imaging studies, or bringing in other doctors may be necessary.

Individualized options for care are available and may include prescribed medicine or injections, physical therapy, behavioral health services, or surgery.

Don’t wait to seek care for your pelvic pain. The following pelvic pain situations require immediate medical attention:

— Abrupt, severe pain

— Vomiting blood or passing bloody stool

— Additional chest, shoulder, or neck pain (possible heart attack)

No matter what level or kind of pelvic pain you experience, the safest bet is to listen to your body and mention it to your doctor. You should not have to endure an uncomfortable condition when treatments are available to help improve your quality of life.

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Mariam Salisu, MD, MPH is with UPMC Pain Management and sees patients at UPMC facilities in Williamsport, Lewisburg, and Lock Haven. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Salisu, call 570-326-8457. For more information, visit UPMC.com/PainManagementNCPA.


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