Pelvic pain is a complex and diverse medical problem which may require input from a range of specialists to locate the cause.
Pelvic pain is different for every woman and may be felt anywhere below the stomach and into the pelvic area. The pain is not related to the menstrual cycle or pregnancy and if it lasts for longer than six months, it can be considered chronic pelvic pain.
COGA’s gynaecologists can play a role in investigating possible causes in the reproductive systems through diagnostic procedures such as laparoscopy, colposcopy or hysteroscopy.
What to expect during a laparoscopy
A laparoscopy is an operation performed under general anaesthetic which allows the gynaecologist to inspect your pelvic organs and diagnose and treat various conditions.
A general anaesthetic is required for laparoscopic procedures. A cut about one centimetre long is made below the belly button. A fine tube is passed through this cut and the abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide gas. This creates space so that the pelvic organs can be seen clearly.
Patients recover quickly from the procedure because the cuts are so small. There may be some pain around the cuts and aching in the abdomen, and perhaps some nausea or discomfort for around three days after the procedure.
What to expect during a colposcopy
A colposcopy is a procedure where a gynaecologist uses a magnifying device to examine the cervix and vagina for abnormal cell growth. It is often performed as an extra check if your smear test returns an abnormal result.
The specialist will use a speculum, much like a smear test, to get a clear view of the cervix. They will paint the cervix with a special liquid to highlight the cells and take a biopsy for further testing.
You’re likely to feel some cramping afterwards, like normal period cramps and if a biopsy was taken, you may bleed a little but it should clear up after 2 – 3 days.
What to expect during a hysteroscopy
A hysteroscopy is a procedure used to examine the inside of the uterus (womb). It is carried out using a narrow telescope, called the hysteroscope, which is inserted through the cervix (opening of the womb) into the uterus. The hysteroscope is connected to a light and camera, which sends images to a monitor so that your gynaecologist is able to see inside the uterus.
As the hysteroscope is passed into your uterus through the vagina and cervix, no cut needs to be made in your skin.
Possible causes of pelvic pain
- Pelvic inflammatory disease, which is an infection in the fallopian tubes and/or pelvis
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Removal of cysts and fibroids
- Endometriosis surgery – to remove endometrial cells
- Prolapse surgery or insertion of vaginal pessaries
- Hysterectomy (laparoscopic, abdominal or vaginal)
Aside from surgery, there are also medical treatments and lifestyle changes that can improve life for sufferers of pelvic pain. With a wide network of complementary medical specialists such as pelvic floor physiotherapists and dieticians, your COGA specialist is well-placed to create a management plan for ongoing pelvic pain.
Our gynaecologists are some of the most experienced menstruation specialists in Christchurch.
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