Many women experience abdominal discomfort at some point in their lives, and it is not always related to pregnancy. In particular, some women may experience a pulling sensation in their lower abdomen that can be concerning. Though it is important to speak to your doctor if you experience this feeling, there are also a variety of possible causes that are not indicative of any serious medical condition. In this blog post, we will explore the potential causes of a pulling sensation in the lower abdomen, as well as when to seek medical advice. We will also look at how to ease this discomfort and prevent it from recurring. By understanding the range of possible causes and solutions, you can be better prepared to handle this issue if it arises.
It’s not “all in your head. “Beware of these five conditions that cause difficult-to-diagnose pain in women,” advises Domica Martin, a 40-year-old Fairfax, Virginia, mother of three. , knew something was wrong. As she cleaned the house, took care of her kids, and prepared for her upcoming marathon, a dull and aching pain in her lower abdomen lingered throughout the day. At first, she chalked it up to a pulled muscle. “Then at times I’d buckle over,” she says. “It hurt so bad. Martin was seeking relief from chronic pelvic pain, which is thought to affect one-third of all women at some point in their lives. Little did she know, however, that she was about to begin a medical mystery tour that would take her from doctor to doctor as she sought relief. According to the Society of Interventional Radiology, the condition can be difficult to diagnose and many of its sufferers are told the issue is “all in their heads.” According to Kelvin Hong, M.D., “a typical patient I treat is a woman who has sought treatment from numerous doctors over the course of a very long time of suffering.” D. , a pelvic congestion syndrome expert interventional radiologist at Johns Hopkins One condition that causes women to experience pain that is difficult to describe and diagnose is pelvic congestion syndrome. Here are five conditions that affect women and can be overlooked too quickly. Symptoms of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome include a persistent, dull pain in your lower back and abdomen. According to Hong, there may also be a burning sensation or feeling of fullness in the pelvis that gets worse with standing and worsens over the course of the day. “When a woman lies down or gets off her feet, the feeling gets better.” For many women, the discomfort increases after sexual activity, during menstruation, or during pregnancy. The cause: Just like varicose veins in the legs, pelvic vein valves weaken and fail to close completely. The valves permit blood to flow backward and pool in the veins rather than defying gravity and returning blood to the heart, resulting in pressure and bulging. Premenstrual syndrome, perimenopause, stress, or a work-related issue brought on by prolonged standing are all misdiagnosed as the same thing. It even hides during diagnostic tests. The ovarian veins are relieved of pressure once a woman lies down for a pelvic exam or ultrasound because the change in position prevents the veins from bulging with blood as they do when she stands. Treatment entails patients being given a mild sedative while interventional radiologists like Hong perform an outpatient procedure called embolization. The procedure involves the radiologist inserting a tiny catheter, about the size of a spaghetti strand, into the femoral vein of the groin and guiding it with X-ray guidance to the affected vein. According to Hong, “we essentially obliterate abnormal veins, forcing the blood back via veins that have healthy valves.” ” Patients can return to normal activities immediately after treatment. Other treatments include prescription painkillers, hormones, such as birth control pills, and surgical options, such as a hysterectomy with removal of the ovaries, as well as tying off or removing veins, depending on the severity of the symptoms. Symptoms of Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction: A severe case of déjà vu The same pain returns following surgery to remove a diseased gallbladder: chronic or recurrent discomfort in the upper right or middle part of the abdomen that radiates to the back. According to Dr. Anthony Kalloo, patients frequently claim that fatty foods make their pain worse. D. , director of Johns Hopkins’ Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. The cause: Dysfunction of a small muscle at the end of the bile duct Mistaken identities: Irritable bowel syndrome or ulcer disease. According to Kalloo, “I’ve seen women who were once told it was due to stress or marital issues.” They believed the pain was all in their heads, so some even saw psychiatrists. The issue with these women should have been resolved since their gallbladder was removed. How to treat it: According to Kalloo, short-term relief is provided by prescription drugs like calcium channel blockers and long-acting nitrates that relax smooth muscles. He adds that the majority of patients benefit from an endoscopic procedure called a sphincterotomy. Bloating or swelling of the abdomen, pelvic pressure or stomach pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and frequent urination or the urge to urinate immediately are all signs of ovarian cancer. Cancer that starts in the ovaries and reproductive organs is to blame. Ovarian cancer can easily pass for other conditions due to its vague symptoms, such as gastrointestinal distress, weight gain, or urinary tract infections, according to Robert Giuntoli, MD. D. , a gynecologic oncologist with Johns Hopkins. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy; one or more of these therapies, or even all three, may be recommended at some point during the course of treatment. Early diagnosis and effective disease removal during surgery are the most crucial factors in outcome. A woman’s life is made miserable by the pain, burning, stinging, or rawness in the vulva caused by vulvodynia. According to Johns Hopkins physical therapist Laura Scheufele, “The pain and burning are frequently worse with contact to the area, so even sitting, wiping, and being intimate can be painful.” In severe cases, I’ve witnessed women who were unable to work or whose marriages disintegrated as a result of the condition. Its exact cause is unknown, but active infections and sexually transmitted diseases have been ruled out by experts. Mistaken identities: Urinary tract infection, yeast infection or vaginitis. Treatment options include nerve blocks occasionally in addition to drug therapy to block pain signals. Physical therapy and biofeedback can help women with pelvic floor muscle spasms or weakness, according to Scheufele Interstitial Cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome, is characterized by persistent pelvic pain, pressure, or discomfort, as well as a frequent, urgent need to urinate. The culprit: The exact cause remains a mystery. Mistaken identities: Urinary tract infection. Treatment options include medication, physical therapy, and avoiding trigger foods from the diet. Domica Martin’s zest for life was diminished by chronic pelvic pain for almost two years, but she never lost hope. She finally made a discovery through her own Internet research that would resolve her medical mystery. She kept finding new research by Johns Hopkins in search results. She scheduled a consultation with Kelvin Hong, who correctly identified her ailment as pelvic congestion syndrome and treated her. “Life is normal again,” Martin says with relief. And she is aware that no one should take feeling normal for granted as she prepares for her upcoming major race. Get the Most Out of Your Specialist Visit It takes time to build a strong relationship with a doctor. Here is a helpful list of what to bring so that you can make the most of your crucial first visit to a medical specialist:
Second Opinions Made Simple When given a frightening diagnosis or forced to select from a bewildering array of treatment options, it’s simple to feel overwhelmed. Seeking a second opinion can help. But what if you can’t travel, live far away, or have mobility issues? Fortunately, you can obtain a remote second opinion from the specialists at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Your treatment options can be discussed with experts in the fields of otolaryngology, gastroenterology, hepatology, neurology, neurosurgery, urology, pathology, gynecology, and urogynecology. To find out more, visit hopkinsmedicine. org/second_opinion. 9 Symptoms Women Should Never Ignore 1. Bloating or swelling of your abdomen 2. Pelvic pressure or stomach pain 3. Trouble eating or feeling full quickly 4. requiring frequent urination or sensing an immediate need to urinate 5 Persistent or recurrent pain after gallbladder surgery 6. Chronic lower back and abdominal pain that worsens after sexual activity, during menstruation, when fatigued or standing, and during pregnancy Abnormal menstrual bleeding 8. Pain and burning of the vulva 9. persistent pressure, discomfort, or pain in the pelvic and bladder area, according to Johns Hopkins University 1 in Gynecology by U. S. News & World Report For more information, visit hopkinsmedicine. org/womenshealth. For appointments and consultations, call 877-546-1872.
What Does Pelvic Pain Feel like?
Women experience pelvic pain much more frequently than men, and it can be brought on by a number of illnesses or medical conditions. It is typically accompanied by back pain and other pelvic area symptoms, and it is felt in the lowest part of the abdomen and pelvis, below the belly button.
A woman may experience acute pelvic pain, which is a brief but severe dull or sharp pain that appears out of nowhere, or chronic pelvic pain, which is a constant or recurrent pain that lasts for six months or longer. Women frequently describe it as a sharp pain in the lower abdomen and anus or, more generally, as pelvic and lower back pain.
The intensity of lower abdominal pain and pelvic pain can also differ. It can occasionally feel like a hot poker is inserted into the vagina because it is so intense. In any case, the excruciating pain might also spread to the thighs, buttocks, or lower back.
How Does Your Gynecologist Diagnose the Cause of Abdominal Pain
As there are numerous potential causes of abdominal pain, your gynecologist will perform a complete physical examination as well as a number of tests. The physical examination may involve applying pressure to various abdominal areas to feel for swell and tenderness. In order to better understand the type of pain you experience, additional symptoms, and general health history, your gynecologist will also take an oral history. Typical questions you may be asked regarding the pain include:
Your doctor will decide which tests to order based on this information, the intensity of the pain, and its precise location within the abdomen. An in-depth view of the tissues, organs, and other structures in the abdomen is provided by imaging tests like X-rays, ultrasounds, and MRI scans. These tests can help diagnose inflammation, ruptures, tumors, and fractures. Other tests may be performed, depending on the specific signs and duration of abdominal pain, such as:
Additional tests might be necessary if the aforementioned tests are insufficient to pinpoint the primary cause of the pain. This may include:
Why do I feel twinges in my lower abdomen?
What causes lower abdominal pain in females not pregnant?