This frustrating condition defined as pain below the belly button lasting for longer than 6 months can seriously affect a woman’s quality of life. If you have pain that causes you to miss work or school, or results in you avoiding sexual intimacy or other activities, this is not normal and deserves further evaluation. The pain may or may not be related to the menstrual cycle, may come and go, or may be constant. Pelvic pain may result from a variety of different causes and often can be successfully treated. Common conditions include:

• Ovarian cysts

• Scar tissue

• Endometriosis

• GI or Bowel conditions

• Uterine fibroids

• Sexual, psychological or physical abuse

A careful history, physical examination, STD screening and specific blood testing may assist us in determining the cause of the pain. Imaging studies such as ultrasonography and possibly even minimally invasive surgery may be required if a cause cannot be found. Treatment for chronic pelvic pain varies with the cause, but may include:

• Hormonal therapy

• Anti-inflammatory medications

• Antibiotics

• Surgery

• Biofeedback

• Evaluation by a certified sex therapist

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