Women’s Pelvic Pain Can Go Beyond Reproductive System
Some women of reproductive age may develop endometriosis, a condition in which tissue similar to the uterus lining grows outside of the uterus on the ovaries or other parts of the reproductive system. This can cause severe pain and bleeding between periods. According to the US HHS Office on Women’s Health, endometriosis affects about 11 percent of American women between 15 and 44.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition. Treatments include hormone therapy, pain medications, and surgical procedures such as endometriosis ablation (cauterization or cutting of the tissue) and sometimes hysterectomy (partial or complete removal of uterus). Unfortunately, women who have been diagnosed and treated for endometriosis, including ablation or hysterectomy, may still struggle with pelvic pain. This often leads them to question if endometriosis can be cured.
Endometriosis Diagnosis May Be Tip of Iceberg
Because a woman’s pelvis contains four body systems—urinary, reproductive, digestive, and musculoskeletal—the exact cause of chronic pelvic pain may be complex and involve one or more of those systems.
Related article: What Causes Pelvic Pain?
Minimally invasive treatments for endometriosis like ablation, which surgically destroys the lining of the uterus, can reduce menstrual flow significantly or stop it completely. However, for some women, that may only be the tip of the iceberg. When pelvic pain continues, it may be necessary to look at other issues beneath the surface, including the peritoneum (membrane that lines the abdomen and pelvis), bladder, bowel, muscles, and more.
Questions For Women With Pelvic Pain After Endometriosis Care
If you’ve been treated for endometriosis but still struggle with chronic pelvic pain, you may want to consider a consult with a physician who is board certified in both urogynecology and laparoscopic surgery. These physicians are pelvic pain specialists who not only diagnose and treat issues with a woman’s reproductive system (up to and including minimally invasive surgery), but also the other organs, muscles, and connective tissue in the female pelvis.
A urogynecologist who specializes in helping women uncover the source of their pelvic pain will ask many questions about symptoms. Examples may include:
- If you are not bleeding, do you have pain?
- Does bleeding make your pain worse?
- Do your cramps go away when you are not having your period?
- When you urinate, do you sometimes feel like you haven’t emptied your bladder and then need to urinate again soon?
- Do you feel bloated frequently?
- Do you have irritable bowel symptoms?
- Have you ever injured your lower back?
- Have you ever fallen on your buttocks hard enough to bruise them?
- Did your pelvic pain start after childbirth?
Reach Out to Mercy’s Urogyncologist
For more than thirty years, Maurice Chung, M.D., the medical director of the Mercy Center for Endometriosis, Pelvic Pain & Urogynecology has been helping women find the source of their chronic pelvic pain, including those who’ve undergone ablation or hysterectomy for endometriosis. Many effective treatments he provides are non-surgical.
To schedule a urogynecology appointment at Mercy, call 330-489-1379.