Pelvic pain is a common complaint among women. Its nature and intensity fluctuates, and its cause is often obscure. Pelvic pain can be acute, meaning the pain is sudden and severe, or chronic, meaning the pain comes and goes or is constant. Pelvic pain lasting longer than six months and showing no improvement with treatment is known as chronic pelvic pain.
Urologic services are available at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Main Campus in Boston, at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain, at Brigham and Women's/Mass General Health Care Center at Foxborough, and at our newest locations Dana Farber/Brigham and Womens Cancer Center in Milford and Brigham and Women's Health Care Center at Westwood. Discuss the most convenient location for you when you make an appointment with a patient coordinator.
The following are examples of the different types of pelvic pain most commonly described by women, and their possible cause or origin.
Pelvic pain may have multiple causes, including inflammation or direct irritation of nerves, muscular contractions or cramps of both smooth and skeletal muscles, and psychogenic factors, which can cause or aggravate pain. Pelvic pain causes include:
Acute Pelvic Pain:
Chronic Pelvic Pain:
Diagnostic procedures and tests will determine the cause of your pelvic pain. In addition to a complete medical history, your urologist will also complete a physical and pelvic examination. Diagnostic procedures may include:
Specific treatment for pelvic pain may include:
If a physical cause cannot be found, pelvic pain may be diagnosed as a psychological defense or coping mechanism for some type of trauma. In some cases, psychotherapy is recommended. In other cases, a multidisciplinary treatment approach incorporates nutritional modifications, environmental changes, physical therapy, and pain management.
You will receive a thorough diagnostic evaluation and receive clinically-proven treatment by a board-certified urologist who specializes in female pelvic pain. Our goal is to alleviate symptoms so you can return to every life. Appointments are confidential and private.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital practices a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, routinely collaborating with colleagues in other medical specialties. If your urologist discovers that an underlying illness has contributed to your pelvic pain, you will be referred to an appropriate BWH physician for an evaluation.
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