The pelvic area is the area under the bellybutton and between the hips, and pain in this area that is present for six months or longer is defined as chronic pelvic pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. This can be symptomatic of another ailment, or a condition in itself. Treatment for chronic pelvic pain can be difficult, especially if no exact cause for the pain is found, but various therapies can help with the condition.
The Mayo Clinic lists hormone treatments as one possible option to treat chronic pelvic pain. For some women with pelvic pain, the pain is linked to menstrual cycles and hormone fluctuations. In these cases, birth control pills or other hormone medications can help relieve this pain.
Physical therapy—including hot or cold compresses, stretching and massage—may be used to help relieve chronic pelvic pain. Pelvic floor exercises aid in strengthening these muscles, possibly alleviating discomfort, and a type of therapy called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) might be used by a physical therapist. TENS is a therapy that administers painless electrical currents through the skin to certain nerves, relaxing any stiffness and easing pain, according to Spineuniverse.com.
Trigger Point Injections
According to Women’s Health Matters, trigger points are areas in the pelvic wall that are painful. This is typically referred pain, which means that the pain is actually originating in one place, but the brain interprets the pain as occurring in another, like the pelvis. Trigger point injections are injections of an anesthetic that numb the trigger points for weeks to months. For some people, several treatments can permanently resolve the pain.
Antidepressants or Counseling
Some antidepressants, like the tricyclic antidepressants, alleviate pain as well as depressive symptoms. Drugs in this class include amitriptyline and nortriptyline. These drugs relieve pain even in nondepressed individuals, according to the Mayo Clinic. In some people, chronic pelvic pain is related to difficulties in social or psychological functioning, like a history of sexual abuse or marital problems. Counseling helps relieve psychological, spiritual or social crises and has been shown to be effective at easing chronic pelvic pain.
Chronic pain can be stressful in itself and have a negative impact on everyday activities like sleeping, exercising and carrying out everyday things like errands. Finding emotional support from friends or family members can help alleviate this stress, and talking with trusted individuals can help improve emotional health and aid in problem solving. Stress management techniques like deep breathing, meditation or yoga can also reduce stress and any pain that might be triggered by excessive amounts of stress, says the Mayo Clinic.
About this Author
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and women’s studies, Jaime Herndon pursued a Master of Science in clinical health psychology, and recently completed her M.P.H. in maternal-child health from UNC. Her interests include women’s cancers, pediatric oncology, and women’s health.