Chronic pelvic pain (CPP)
What is CPP?
It is pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen that lasts more than 6 months.
Sometime the cause of the pain is known. Other times it can be hard to find the cause. It may have started with an injury. However, the pain did not improve when the injury was better.
You may notice 1 or more symptoms:
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in behavior
- Change in relationships due to:
- Physical problems
- Psychological problems
What causes CPP?
Causes may be:
- Gastrointestinal (GI tract)
- Urinary or bladder
- Myofascial pain (Pain in muscles or fascia. This is a type of connective tissue that surrounds muscles.)
- Neuropathic (nerve) pain
Learn more by reading the Chronic Pelvic Pain handbook from the International Pelvic Pain Society.
Your provider will do an exam and talk with you about the best treatment.
What is CPP syndrome?
Pain that lasts longer than 6 months, causing people to change their activity because of the pain. The pain may be physically and mentally exhausting.
You may notice:
- You have had pain for 6 or more months.
- Normal treatments have not helped or have only helped a little.
- The pain is stronger than you would expect from what first caused the pain.
- You start to do less and less physical activity.
- Changes in how you relate to your role in relationships.
Will I be given pain medicine?
Pain medicine can only be used for a short time. It will not treat the cause. The therapies your provider suggests will help long term.
Choices for both acute and chronic pain:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol®)
- Nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- (ibuprofen, Naprosyn®, Toradol®, Anaprox®, Relafen®)
- Neuropathic pain medicine
- Anticonvulsants (seizure medicine)
- Pregabalin (Lyrica)
- Lidocaine patches
- Muscle relaxants (in some cases):
Tranquilizers do not work well. They are not made to lessen pain. Over time they can cause sleep problems and depression.
Opioids should not be used long term to treat pain due to side effects, such as:
- Dependence (they can make your pain worse)
- Immune suppression
- Sexual dysfunction
- Opioid hyperalgesia
Opioids stop your body from making your own painkillers, called endorphins.
You make endorphins:
- More with sleep and exercise
- Less with lack of sleep and opioid use
Therapies that help CPP are:
- Home exercise
- Physical therapy
- Aqua therapy is good for general conditioning and strengthening.
- In the chronic phase there is no need for formal physical therapy.
- Psychologists can help with:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Coping mechanisms
- Relaxation techniques
Your symptoms should slowly get better with treatment.