Pelvic Pain Specialist
Both acute and chronic pelvic pain can have serious underlying medical causes, and being evaluated early is the key to optimal results. Northwest Women’s Center uses state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques to determine the cause of pelvic pain in women from throughout Houston, TX, so they can receive the best care for their needs.
Pelvic Pain Q & A
What are the primary gynecologic causes of pelvic pain?
Some of the most common causes of pelvic pain, aside from normal menstruation and ovulation, include:
- large uterine fibroids
- large cysts
- pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection that can affect any of the pelvic organs
- sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs)
- endometriosis, a condition that occurs when the uterine lining tissue (endometrium) grows outside the uterus
- ectopic pregnancy
- ovarian, uterine or cervical cancer
- pelvic floor disorders and pelvic organ prolapse
Because so many issues can cause or contribute to pelvic pain, a thorough exam is the best way to ensure the most appropriate treatment is provided for long-term relief of symptoms and to avoid potential complications.
What is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)?
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the reproductive organs and tissues that can affect any area of the reproductive tract and can spread from one area to another. PID is usually caused by an STD, and mild forms may be treated with antibiotics. More advanced infections that develop abscesses may require surgery to remove the abscesses to prevent scarring. Very severe infections may require a hysterectomy or oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries) to remove damaged organs that cannot be repaired and to prevent spread of the infection. Infections can cause extensive scarring, and PID is a very common cause of infertility in the U.S.
How is the cause of pelvic pain determined?
The diagnosis of pelvic pain begins with a pelvic exam, as well as a review of the patient’s medical history and symptoms. Ultrasounds or in some cases MRI or CT scans may be ordered along with blood tests and urinalysis to confirm an infection and determine the pathogen (germ) that’s causing the infection so treatment can be targeted at that germ. Minimally-invasive exams like hysteroscopy may also be ordered to look inside the uterus and to examine the fallopian tubes.
How is pelvic pain treated?
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of pain and can include:
- pain relievers
- anti-inflammatory medications
- hormone therapy
- physical therapy
Some patients respond to certain types of antidepressant medications. When the cause of pelvic pain cannot be determined, treatment will focus on the long-term relief of symptoms so patients can enjoy an improved quality of life.