Pelvic pain, which is pain felt in the lowest part of the abdomen below the navel, is a common occurrence in women. It can be caused by many things, ranging from minor to more serious. In order to properly treat pelvic pain, the cause must first be identified.
The pelvis contains all the reproductive organs - uterus, ovaries, and Fallopian tubes - as well as the bladder and the bowel. Pain can originate in any of these organs. Pelvic pain may also come from the bones and joints of the pelvis itself, or the surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Pelvic pain associated with the reproductive system is what we see most commonly at TCRA. Reproductive pelvic pain can be connected to any of the following:
Ovulation: Caused by the release of an egg from the ovary, usually lasting just a few hours
Period cramps/pain (dysmenorrhea): Ranging from mild to severe
Ovarian cyst: Although most ovarian cysts are benign, they can cause pain if they rupture and release fluid into the pelvic cavity
Endometriosis: Caused by endometrial tissue (which lines the uterus) migrating outside of the uterus to other parts of the pelvic cavity
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): Caused by bacterial infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhea
Uterine fibroids: Non-cancerous growths can result in pain if they grow and cause swelling
Chronic pelvic pain: Pain that lasts more than 6 months, which may have a definable cause or may have no known cause.
Women can also experience pelvic pain during pregnancy or pain from bowel or bladder issues. In addition, muscle and joint pain originating in the low back or hips can radiate into the pelvic area. If you are experiencing pelvic pain and don’t know the origin, a visit to your doctor can help determine the nature of the pain and if it is anything of concern.
Pelvic pain associated with the reproductive system can be frustrating, as it may affect quality of life significantly. Doctors may recommend an NSAID pain medication such as ibuprofen to manage pain. In the case of endometriosis, recurrent ovarian cysts, or uterine fibroids, surgical remedies may be recommended.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can also be extremely effective ways to manage pelvic pain, particularly when the origin is unknown or conventional treatments have been ineffective. Our board certified acupuncturists conduct a thorough health history to assess the situation from a Chinese medical viewpoint, which identifies imbalances in the body in order to gently correct them and resolve symptoms. Depending on your particular situation, Chinese herbs, nutritional recommendations, and lifestyle suggestions may also be part of a treatment plan. If you are experiencing pelvic pain and seeking relief, contact TCRA to learn more about how we can help.