At one time or another, we all experience some pain or distress in our abdomen. It could be anything from something we ate to poor sleep habits that upset our stomachs. But, abdominal pain isn’t always actually being generated in the digestive tract. For many women, gynecological issues present as abdominal pain that can be radiating from the pelvis and even traveling into the back. That’s why it’s so important to visit your OBGYN if you’re suddenly experiencing abdominal pain that doesn’t seem to be self-resolving and isn’t clearly related to digestion.
To be sure, if the pain is intense enough, medical care will be sought out. But, many women try to just ride it out and see if it goes away. Persistent abdominal pain is one of the symptoms you should never ignore and it’s highly recommended you get it checked by an OBGYN. The first fear every person has is of course cancer. While there is always the chance of cancer, it is most likely something else that is suddenly causing you this pain statistically speaking. Here are a few of the conditions that can cause debilitating abdominal pain and how your OBGYN can provide treatment.
Uterine fibroids are incredibly common. In fact, they are the most common gynecologic tumors that afflict women of reproductive age. It’s believed anywhere from 20 to 50% of women have fibroids of some kind. While the word “tumor” conjures up cancer, know that fibroids are benign. They do not turn into cancer and they do not increase your risk of developing cancer. However, they can be quite painful. They grow in the smooth muscle of the uterus and can come in a variety of sizes, though most women have fibroids so small as to be virtually undetectable. It’s important to note, however, that they can affect the ability to get pregnant which is why they need to be treated if you are looking to have children.
Endometriosis can also cause both pain and difficulty getting pregnant. This is not a condition related to tumors, however. Every month during menstruation, uterine tissue gets expelled. When that tissue begins to grow outside the uterus, it can be present in the abdomen, fallopian tubes, ovaries, ureters, intestine, or anus. The pain begins because this tissue still goes through its monthly cycle due to the presence of estrogen. However, instead of being expelled, it remains trapped which causes inflammation and scarring.
Cystitis is inflammation in the bladder that can cause pain and increased frequency in urination. In most cases, it’s the result of a bacterial infection. UTIs are very common and respond well to a course of antibiotics. That doesn’t mean they should be taken lightly, though. While most people seek treatment for their cystitis before major complications arise, the infection can spread to the kidneys and become life threatening if antibiotics aren’t administered in a timely manner. Interstitial cystitis is chronic inflammation that isn’t related to bacteria. This can be more difficult to treat and your OBGYN will approach it with a variety of treatments after identifying the root cause.
How your OBGYN can help
Every condition requires a different course of treatment. Medication designed to provide relief from pain is often prescribed for these conditions. How that medication is delivered depends on your individual circumstance. Certain kinds of physical therapy may also be employed. Physical therapy that targets the pelvic floor is used for a variety of chronic conditions that cause discomfort or pain. Pelvic pain disorders like endometriosis may respond well to this physical therapy. It can also be used to relieve skeletal pain during pregnancy. It may even be used for incontinence.
If a condition like fibroids is debilitating enough and doesn’t respond to other courses of treatment, a hysterectomy may be recommended. Don’t be alarmed that a hysterectomy is inevitable. Other treatments usually prove successful before needing to take this step, however this solution is there should your condition ultimately call for it.
Your OBGYN has many tools at their disposal to help you manage, if not outright get rid of, the condition that is causing you abdominal pain and discomfort. But, it’s important to get the proper diagnosis so you can begin the road to recovery.
If there is one thing you should never ignore, it’s persistent pain in the abdominal region. Pain can radiate, so if you’re experiencing chronic pain in the abdomen, pelvis, or back, it’s highly recommended that you see your OBGYN for an evaluation. While there is a chance it could be nothing serious, it is much better to be safe than sorry. Early intervention is key for nearly every condition that affects your health. Book an appointment online with us today. The team at The Association for Women’s Health Care is dedicated to providing you with the treatments and services you need so you can lead a healthy life free of pain.