Chronic Pelvic Pain
We pinpoint the causes of your chronic pelvic pain. Our experts use advanced skills and techniques to make an accurate diagnosis and provide a comprehensive treatment plan that delivers relief.
Why choose UCLA Health for chronic pelvic pain?
At the UCLA Health Chronic Pelvic Pain Program, our specialists diagnose and treat an array of common and complex pelvic pain disorders. Chronic (long-term) pelvic pain rarely results from issues in only one part of the body, so we bring together a team with diverse training to customize your care.
Together, we help you get an accurate diagnosis and find pain relief. Our coordinated, compassionate care team gives you hope, even when other approaches haven’t worked.
Highlights of our Chronic Pelvic Pain Program include:
Comprehensive assessments: To provide you with a complete and accurate diagnosis, we perform a thorough evaluation of your overall health and symptoms. We assess everything that could contribute to your pain to develop a successful treatment plan.
Multidisciplinary approach: Our team includes highly specialized gynecologists, psychologists, surgeons, physical therapists and anesthesiologists. We collaborate with specialists from the UCLA Health Center for Women’s Pelvic Health and the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases.
Leading-edge treatment: Our specialists use the latest therapies and research to develop your personalized treatment plan. We offer advanced, laparoscopic or robotic-assisted surgery for endometriosis treatment, which leads to fewer incisions and a faster recovery.
Coordinated care: If your treatment requires care from other specialities, our extensive referral network means we can connect you with available providers. We maintain communication with this extended team to ensure thorough, timely attention to your needs.
How we diagnose chronic pelvic pain
Our specialists know that many factors contribute to persistent pelvic pain. With a coordinated team approach, we determine exactly what causes and worsens your pain so we can provide expert, effective treatment.
Chronic pelvic pain specialists ask you questions about your medical history, overall health and symptoms. We then perform a physical exam designed specifically for pain assessment. We also use tests to help us confirm your diagnosis and rule out other conditions, including:
Diagnostic nerve block to numb nerves that may cause pain
MRI scan to look for abnormalities and damaged nerves in the pelvic region
Pain mapping to determine what tissues, organs and nerves may be involved in pelvic pain
Pelvic ultrasound to produce detailed images of your reproductive organs and surrounding tissues, so we can check their health
Chronic pelvic pain conditions we treat
Chronic pain refers to any pain that affects you for a long time, usually for more than three to six months. At our Chronic Pelvic Pain Program, we treat a range of conditions that cause pelvic pain and symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
Conditions we treat include abnormalities of the uterus, such as:
- Adenomyosis (cells from the lining of the uterus grow into the muscle of the uterus)
- Endometriosis (cells from the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterus)
- Fibroids (noncancerous growths made of muscle and tissue form in or around the uterus)
- Dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
Other pain-producing conditions we address include:
- Bladder pain syndrome (frequent bladder pressure or pain)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Ovarian cysts
- Nerve pain caused by problems with abdominal or pelvic nerves
- Vulvar and vaginal pain
We also manage pelvic pain due to:
- Pelvic congestion syndrome (varicose veins around the ovaries)
- Pelvic floor muscle pain and abnormal functioning
- Pelvic muscle injury or trauma
Vulvodynia is a condition that causes discomfort or pain around the opening of the vagina. You may experience a burning or stinging sensation, or have redness and irritation in the area. Many women with this condition experience sexual pain, bladder symptoms and extreme sensitivity around the vulva.
Sexual pain (dysparenunia) refers to persistent pain with intercourse or vaginal penetration. A number of conditions may cause this genital pain before, during or after sexual experiences. Our specialists provide a safe, understanding environment to discuss your symptoms. We work with you to pinpoint the underlying cause.
Treatments we offer for chronic pelvic pain
Using the latest therapies, we develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses all of the factors contributing to chronic (long-term) pain. At UCLA Health, we offer both nonsurgical and, when necessary, surgical treatments for chronic pelvic pain. With our extensive network of experts, we can also refer you to subspecialties when needed.
Our specialists may recommend a range of treatments to target the cause of pain and provide relief. You may receive:
- Hormone therapy
- Injection (nerve block)
- Prescription for physical therapy
- Pain-specific mental health support, such as cognitive behavioral therapy
We also may recommend complementary methods to treat pain and other symptoms. These may include:
- Dietary changes
- Mindfulness exercises from the UCLA Health Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC)
We offer minimally invasive procedures to remove endometriosis tissue, abnormal cysts, tumors or fibroids. These techniques allow us to make fewer, smaller incisions, and help you recover faster.
In some cases, we may recommend traditional (open) surgery if needed. Our skilled specialists have extensive experience treating both common and complex conditions that cause chronic pelvic pain.
Specialized endometriosis treatment
Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when tissue lining the inside of your uterus (endometrium) grows outside of the uterus, causing inflammation and pain. If you are diagnosed with endometriosis, our specialists may recommend medication, surgery or both.
Treatment may involve hormone therapies, such as birth control (contraceptives), progestins (to change the lining of your uterus) or antihormone therapy. For severe endometriosis, our chronic pelvic pain team may recommend minimally invasive surgery.
Our surgeons specialize in an image-guided, laparoscopic or robotic-assisted approach. When needed, this technique allows surgeons to treat your pain while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. It also results in smaller incisions and a faster recovery than traditional (open) surgery.
When you come to UCLA Health for chronic pelvic pain, you receive care from an experienced and compassionate team of specialists. Our extensive network also allows us to connect with other subspecialties, so you receive the care you need when you need it.