This quick fact sheet is a primer to help women seek treatment when the pain begins to overtake their lives. Ignoring the pain, or soldiering through it can actually cause long-term damage. If you suspect you have one of the conditions below, it is important to see a minimally invasive GYN specialist.
COMMON GYN CONDITIONS THAT CAUSE PELVIC PAIN
These non-cancerous tumors can grow very large causing distention, or grow in a place that compresses a nerve that can cause pain. It is estimated that an average of 80 of all women will have fibroids at some point in her life. The estimates are higher for African American women.
Fibroids can be removed in a procedure called a myomectomy, but if a woman is prone to fibroids, there is a higher likelihood that they will return. A hysterectomy will cure fibroids, as they only grow in or on the uterus.
If they are left untreated, they can interfere with fertility as well as vital systems within your body:
- Kidneys can be damaged by fibroids blocking the ureters;
- The bladder can be become distended by fibroids blocking off the urinary tract; and
- Pressure on veins can cause dangerous blood clots, cause edema (swelling of legs) or varicosities by fibroids impeding blood flow.
This occurs when cells similar to those in the endometrial lining are found in other areas of the body, typically focused on the pelvic area, but can be found farther up the abdomen and even on the lungs.
Endometriosis cannot be cured, but the implants can be removed, and along with medical management that is the best plan for long-term treatment. For many women, having a hysterectomy with removal of both ovaries (especially if the implants are localized to the outside of the uterus), can eliminate endometriosis. However, women need to have all instances of endometriosis removed, as well as any pelvic adhesions.
Normal endometrial tissue exits the body through the vagina during a period, but endometriotic tissue is trapped. This can cause pain and irritation to the surrounding tissue, sometimes causing scar tissue, adhesions (organs sticking together), and infertility.
Adenomyosis is a form of endometriosis. The endometrial cells grow into the wall of the uterus and can cause severe pain, that can also cause intense bleeding each month with the menstrual flow. The only cure for adenomyosis is a hysterectomy.
Functional cysts can develop during a menstrual cycle. They are the most common types of ovarian cysts, and they usually resolve within one to two months.
Ovarian cysts that are not part of a menstrual cycle are known as ovarian tumors. Some tumors can be cystic or filled with fluid, some can be solid, and some can have both cystic and solid components. Ovarian tumors usually do not resolve and require surgical removal.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition that causes the development of multiple small, benign cysts on the ovaries and is usually present due to hormonal imbalance. Other characteristics of this syndrome are irregular menstrual cycle, and elevated levels of male hormone causing excess facial and body hair.
Pelvic adhesions require advanced GYN surgical expertise. They are usually caused by multiple pelvic/abdominal surgeries, infection or endometriosis. Scar tissue can be completely asymptomatic and not cause any problems. When scar tissue causes infertility, pain or gastrointestinal problems, such as bloating and constipation, surgical resection needs to be considered. It is important to understand, however, that each additional surgery can cause new adhesions to form.
Many surgeons who perform laparoscopy do not have the skills required to effectively and safely take down the pelvic adhesions. In the hands of unexperienced laparoscopic surgeon, resection of adhesions will result in higher risk of conversion to open surgery and injury to organs such as the bowel and bladder.
Learn more about conditions that cause pelvic pain.
BOOK A CONSULTATION
The CIGC state-of-the-art specialists are available at three locations in the DC metro area. Virginia patients can visit the Reston, VA location, and Saturday appointments are available. Maryland offices are located in Rockville, MD and Annapolis, MD.
GYN surgical specialists can often see women sooner because they are focused entirely on surgery. Each patient gets detailed, in depth attention from Dr. Natalya Danilyants, Dr. Paul MacKoul and Dr. Rupen Baxi. This personalized care helps patients understand their condition and the recommended treatment so that they can have confidence from the very start. Our surgeons have performed over 20,000 GYN procedures and are constantly finding better ways to improve outcomes for patients.
CIGC TRAVEL PROGRAM
Even if you are not from the DC area, many patients travel to The Center for Innovative GYN Care for our groundbreaking procedures. We treat women from around the world who suffer from complex GYN conditions.
Learn more in our travel program.