If you are experiencing discomfort in the area between your hips and below your belly button that has lasted for half a year or more, you may be dealing with chronic pelvic pain (CPP). It could be caused by various conditions (urinary, reproductive or digestive), or it could be caused by nothing.
Common Causes of Pelvic Pain
The reproductive organs are the source of CPP for many women. However, the gastrointestinal system, the pelvis, the nerves, abdominal muscles or the bladder can also cause CPP. The following are some potential contributors to CPP:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Pelvic floor dysfunction
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Ovarian remnant
- Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease
- Painful bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis)
- Psychological factors
Tips to Ease Chronic Pelvic Pain
Use these helpful tips to ease chronic pelvic pain on your own. You may need to try a combination of solutions to get the best results.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers. A recommended first step for CPP alleviation is to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil). Use them as advised to lessen the swelling that can cause chronic pelvic pain.
- Get moving. Blood flow increases during exercise. Exercise causes your body to release endorphins. These feel-good hormones are the natural painkillers in your body. Your discomfort can be reduced with only five or six days per week of 30 to 45 minutes of moderate exercises, such as fast walking.
- Embrace the heat. It promotes blood flow, which could lessen your pain. Relax in a bath filled with warm water to relieve discomfort during flare-ups. You can get the same effect from applying heat to your stomach with a heating pad or a warm compress if you do not have access to a tub.
- Change your ways. Changing your habits can affect your pain. For example, if you smoke, stop. Nicotine inflames nerves and triggers pain. If you are overweight, shedding the extra pounds may help ease pressure on nerves and relieve pain.
- Take supplements. CPP has occasionally been linked to lower-than-average levels of specific vitamins and minerals in the blood. Magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin E supplements could ease persistent pelvic pain. Herbs may also relieve chronic pain. Willow, licorice, evening primrose oil and Dong Quai are all natural anti-inflammatory agents. However, check with your doctor before taking any herbs or over-the-counter nutritional supplements.
- Relax. Meditation, yoga and breathing exercises can relieve stress and tension that exacerbate chronic pain.
Scheduling an Appointment for CPP Treatments
While these suggestions might alleviate your pelvic pain, they do not address any underlying problems. Marietta OB/GYN can rule out disorders like uterine fibroids, cancer, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease and sexually transmitted diseases. When the underlying cause of CPP has been identified, we create individualized treatment plans that address the source and the symptoms. Contact us at Marietta OB/GYN today.