University of Colorado Pelvic Pain Clinic
Chronic pelvic pain in women is defined as ongoing pain in the pelvic region that persists for six months or longer. The discomfort caused by chronic pelvic pain may range in severity from mildly irritating to completely debilitating, and it may worsen during sexual intercourse, bowel movements, urination or during the menstrual cycle. Chronic pelvic pain is as prevalent as asthma, and the University of Colorado offers this dedicated clinic to help those women who need additional care and time to get a full evaluation.
Diagnosing the source of chronic pelvic pain can be tricky because it can be caused by a host of underlying conditions including endometriosis, uterine fibroids, disorders of the digestive system, urinary dysfunction and more. Like all chronic pain, chronic pelvic pain may be caused or worsened by psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Due to the complexity of chronic pelvic pain, our clinic focuses on evaluating each patient comprehensively. Providers in this clinic look for gynecologic as well as non-gynecologic sources of pain, and coordinate with each patient’s general gynecologist to develop a tailored treatment plan. Patients in this clinic continue to see their gynecologists for routine gynecologic care like annual exams, pap tests, etc.
In our clinic, we utilize physical therapy, compounding pharmacies (tailor-made prescription medications), trigger point injections, and other alternative therapies to treat pain. This is not a typical chronic pain clinic as we do not prescribe nor do we manage chronic narcotic or opioid therapies.
If gynecologic surgical intervention is necessary, CU is well-equipped to perform a full range of procedures using state-of-the-art, minimally invasive surgical technologies.
What causes chronic pelvic pain in women?
Causes of chronic pelvic pain in women include (but are not limited to):
- Uterine fibroids
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Pelvic floor disorders
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Psychological disorders
- History of sexual abuse.
In some cases, a definitive cause cannot be identified. We are still able to develop a treatment plan for managing the pain even if a source cannot be pinpointed.
Who does the Pelvic Pain Clinic treat?
We treat women who have had pelvic pain for six months or longer. In some cases, women have been diagnosed by their gynecologist or other doctor with an underlying condition that is causing or contributing to their chronic pain. In other cases, a patient may not be aware of the underlying cause, and we work with her to identify it and formulate an approach to treatment.
Who works at the Pelvic Pain Clinic and how can I schedule an appointment?
CU has four OB-GYNs with special interest in treating women with chronic pain. Each is a member of the International Pelvic Pain Society. Give us a call to set up an appointment with one of our chronic pelvic pain specialists. Please have available your referring physician’s contact information, the date the problem began and the therapies you have tried.