The broad term, “pelvic pain” is used to describe any variety, frequency, and severity of pain in the lower abdomen. While pelvic pain is a diagnosis, the goal is always to find the cause and alleviate it.
Acute pelvic pain is characterized by lower abdominal pain that lasts less than 6 months, while chronic pelvic pain lasts 6 months or more.
In most cases, pelvic pain can be addressed during a scheduled clinic appointment. Sudden, severe pelvic pain, however, should always be evaluated immediately by a qualified healthcare provider. Pelvic pain that comes on suddenly and is difficult to talk or breathe through may be indication of a serious underlying condition. In addition, pelvic pain accompanied by blood in urine, stool, or emesis should be evaluated immediately in the emergency room.
Patients can try these methods to alleviate pelvic pain at home:
Because there are many structures in the lower abdomen, there are dozens of potential causes of pelvic pain. Describing the pain, onset, and other symptoms assists the healthcare provider in narrowing down the list of potential culprits. Some of the most common causes of pelvic pain include:
Not all pelvic pain is related to the reproductive system, and in a significant number of cases, no cause is identified.
In most cases, pelvic pain is treated by resolving the underlying condition causing the pain. For example, if pelvic pain is caused by a urinary tract infection, doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection, and the pain resolves as a result of the treatment. When there is no cause identified, the patient and healthcare provider work together to find a treatment that alleviates the pain itself.
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