While mild to moderate cramps and aches may be a normal part of getting your period, did you know that almost one-third of women suffer from chronic pelvic pain? Chronic pelvic pain is pain that lasts longer than six months and can be caused by a wide variety of underlying causes.
To get to the root cause of your pelvic pain, you need a provider who takes the time to listen and is committed to alleviating your pain and treating the underlying condition. At Darin Swainston, MD. FACOG, gynecological surgeon Dr. Darin Swainston and OB/GYN Daniel Richards, DO offer comprehensive and caring pelvic pain care to women in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Why do I have pelvic pain?
Because the pelvis houses many important organs, including your urinary, reproductive, and digestive systems, finding the cause of your pelvic pain isn’t always easy. Dr. Swainston and Dr. Richards take the time to listen to the history of your pelvic pain and work to find solutions based on the cause.
There are many possible causes of pelvic pain. Here is a description of some of the most common:
One of the most common causes of chronic pelvic pain is a condition called endometriosis. Each month, your endometrial lining, called the endometrium, thickens and grows to prepare for pregnancy. If you don’t conceive, your body sheds the lining through your period.
When you have endometriosis, however, the endometrium grows outside of the uterus. Each month, it tries to shed through menstruation. But since it can’t exit your body, it builds up over time.
In the beginning, you may only experience severe cramps and pain during your period. However, as endometriosis progresses, your pelvic pain may continue throughout your cycle.
Benign growths that form in the lining of your uterus are called fibroids. These noncancerous masses can vary in size from very small to about the size of a grapefruit.
Sometimes women have fibroids that don’t cause any symptoms. However, depending on the size and location of your fibroids, you may develop pelvic pain and pressure along with heavier periods and a protruding abdomen.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Another common cause of pelvic pain is a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease. Most commonly caused by an STD (sexually transmitted disease), pelvic inflammatory disease is scarring in your pelvic organs from infection. In addition to pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to abnormal vaginal discharge, abnormal bleeding, or a fever.
It’s common for women to experience menstrual cramps, both before and during their period.
As your uterus contracts to help shed the endometrium, it can cause pain.
Some women, however, experience unusually severe menstrual cramps. These cramps may be localized in your lower abdominal area or travel to your back and down your legs, and negatively impact your ability to carry out your daily routine.
When your pelvic pain originates in the vulva, the cause could be vulvodynia. This chronic condition affects the vulva and often develops without a known cause, making it difficult to treat. It can make sexual intercourse painful and the chronic pain it causes can negatively impact your life.
How is pelvic pain treated?
Because not all cases of pelvic pain stem from the same cause, there isn’t one specific treatment that alleviates all pelvic pain. Instead, Dr. Swainston or Dr. Richards must first identify the root cause.
After the underlying cause of your pain is diagnosed, your provider creates a customized treatment plan that takes into consideration your unique body and needs. Our goal is to provide relief and prevent your pain from coming back. We may recommend one or a combination of the following treatment modalities:
- Medication and/or supplements
- Lifestyle changes
- Physical therapy
- Surgical intervention
Rest assured that if your pelvic pain will best be resolved through surgery, the team at Darin Swainston, MD, FACOG uses cutting-edge, robotic-assisted surgical techniques to minimize your discomfort and maximize results.
If you have chronic pelvic pain, don’t wait any longer to seek treatment! Contact Dr. Swainston or Dr. Richards at our Las Vegas office or book an appointment online today. We also offer telehealth appointments so you can meet with us from the comfort of your own home.