Pelvic pain

Surveys have shown that about 1 in 6 women suffer from chronic pelvic pain at some time, making it as common as asthma and backache. There can be several reasons for chronic pain, but the three most common causes are endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrom and intersitital cystitis (a condition affecting the bladder). Other gynaecological causes include pelvic adhesions (particularly if dense and vascular), chronic pelvic inflammatory disease (the late sequelae to pelvic infection), ovarian cysts, ovarian remnant (ovarian tissue left after oophorectomy), trapped ovary (retained ovary buried in adhesions after hysterectomy), and pelvic varicosities. Non-gynaecological causes include nerve entrapment in scar tissue (e.g. ilio-inguinal nerve), inflammatory bowel disease (e.g. Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis), constipations, various musculo-skeletal problems and hernias. Psychological factors can also play an important role.

Laparoscopy may not only be useful in finding the cause of pain (see Diagnostic laparoscopy), but can be used for treatment. Laparoscopic ablation or excision of endometriosis, adhesiolysis, oophorectomy or salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries with or without the fallopian tubes), uterine nerve ablation (LUNA), presacral neurectomy, appendicectomy and even pelvic clearance (hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oohorectomy) in severe cases are established treatment options when indicated. However, as is the case with any pain symptom, cure can never be guaranteed.