Chronic Pelvic Pain and Female Sexual Dysfunction
Many women suffer from pain or discomfort in the pelvic region that has exceeded the ability of their primary care physician and usually many specialists to treat. When this pain lasts for greater than 6 months it can be defined as Chronic Pelvic Pain. This condition has historically been very frustrating to the patient and clinician alike due to a lack of base understanding of the issues and a dearth of effective therapies.
Modern treatment of pelvic pain goes beyond traditional medications and thought processes and takes on a more multi-modal approach. We now believe that pelvic pain is caused by chronic pelvic muscle contraction, leading to reduced blood flow and an overall hostile environment to nerves, blood vessels and their related pelvic structures. The decreased blood flow and circulation partially explains the resistance of these syndromes to traditional oral medications as the concentration of medication that can be delivered to any given site in the body is proportional to blood flow. The origin of these muscle contractions is thought to be an over implementation and exaggeration of the natural guarding reflexes that we use to protect our genitals, rectum and pelvic contents. Furthermore it is becoming increasingly apparent that the pelvic floor acts as a repository for anxiety and stress similar to the shoulders and cervical spine explaining flares of pelvic pain during trying times.
Establishing the true etiology of this pain has allowed physicians to devise effective treatments to finally break the cycle of pain. The mainstay of therapy is strengthening and lengthening pelvic muscles and connective tissues supporting the organs of the pelvis. This is significantly different from the traditional Kegal exercises. Since these exercises and techniques are so important to the overall pelvic health of our patients, and instrumental to curing their pain, El Camino Urology Medical Group has established a network of vetted and approved, specialized pelvic floor physical therapists spanning the bay area from San Francisco to Morgan Hill to provide individual instruction to our patients.
Should a patients pain prove to be refractory to physical therapy alone, we provide additional modalities to diminish flares and control symptoms such as vaginal or rectal suppositories, trigger point injections, nerve blocks and bladder instillations.
Finally, since pain can also be secondary to anatomic problems of the pelvis such as prolapse, evaluation and treatment by one of the pelvic surgeons at El Camino Urology establishes a central coordinator to your pelvic health and increases your chances for a positive outcome.
Female Sexual Dysfunction
Up to one third of women have pain with intercourse and an even larger proportion suffer from decreased sexual desire. Sexual pain may overlap with the sources of Chronic Pelvic Pain listed above or may be secondary to various hormonal deficiencies. El Camino Urology Medical Group is experienced with female hormone replacement therapy for the treatment of decreased sexual desire and sexual pain.