How is pelvic pain diagnosed?

When diagnosing the cause of pelvic pain, the doctor will review the symptoms and medical history of the patient. A physical exam and/or other tests might also help in diagnosing the cause of pelvic pain. The specific testing performed will depend on the discussions with your doctor as well as your examination. Some diagnostic tools might include:

  • Blood and urine tests.
  • Pregnancy tests in females of reproductive age.
  • Vaginal or penile cultures to check for sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.
  • Abdominal and pelvic X-rays.
  • Diagnostic laparoscopy (procedure allowing a direct look at the structures in the pelvis and abdomen).
  • Hysteroscopy (procedure to examine the uterus).
  • Stool guaiac test (checking of a stool sample for presence of microscopic blood).
  • Lower endoscopy such as colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy (insertion of a lighted tube to examine the inside of the rectum and part or all of the colon).
  • Ultrasound (test that uses sound waves to provide images of internal organs).
  • CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis (scan that uses X-rays and computers to produce cross-sectional images of the body).

How is pelvic pain treated?

The treatment of pelvic pain varies by what the cause is, how intense the pain is, and how often the pain occurs. Sometimes pelvic pain is treated with medicines, including antibiotics, if necessary. If the pain results from a problem with one of the pelvic organs, the treatment might involve surgery or other procedures. Physical therapy can be helpful in some cases. Also, because living with chronic pelvic pain can be stressful and upsetting, studies have shown benefit to working with a trained counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist in many cases. A doctor can provide more information about various treatments for pelvic pain.

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