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Endometriosis and Persistent Pelvic Pain

Endometriosis and persistent pelvic pain are painful and chronic health issues affecting women and people assigned female at birth in Tasmania and throughout Australia.

Pelvic pain is pain below your belly button and above your legs. It’s pain that you feel on most days for six months or more. This area includes your bowel, bladder, ovaries, uterus and more.

It is estimated that at least one in seven women and people assigned female at birth in Australia experience persistent pelvic pain. It’s important to know what’s normal and what’s not – and when you should seek help.

Family Planning Tasmania offer a pathway to treat these conditions holistically.

Our pathway is designed to support and empower patients as they journey through life living with these conditions.

We’re an experienced multidisciplinary team, consisting of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and psychologists.

Our pathway puts each individual patient at the centre of their care. The goal is find solutions and strategies to help them manage their pain in the most effective way.

You can see a description of the different steps on the pathway below.

Is this pathway suitable for me?

Persistent pelvic pain can have various causes. Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the uterus (endometrium) grows outside of the uterus, leading to inflammation, scarring, and pain.

You should consider booking an appointment if you have multiple symptoms from below:

  • Pain during periods
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Pain on or around ovulation
  • Pain with bowel movements
  • Pain with urination
  • Needing to urinate more often
  • Pelvic pain that occurs outside of your period
  • Heavy bleeding or irregular bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea or constipation

Medical

The Persistent Pelvic Pain initiative is supported by funding from Primary Health Tasmania (Tasmania PHN) through the Australian Government’s Primary Health Networks program.

Diagnosis is an important first stage of your pathway. The most common diagnostic tests include:

  • Pelvic exam: A doctor will feel for any lumps or abnormalities in the pelvis. A Family Planning Tasmania doctor can conduct a pelvic exam.
  • Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to create images of the pelvic organs.
  • Laparoscopy: This is a surgical procedure in which a small incision is made in the abdomen to allow a thin tube with a camera to be inserted to examine the pelvic organs. Removal of the endometriosis tissue may also occur during this procedure for diagnosis and possible treatment.

There are several medical treatment options available to manage the symptoms. These include:

  • Pain medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help manage mild to moderate pain.
  • Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy can help regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce the growth of endometrial tissue. Options include birth control pills, progesterone, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the endometriosis tissue. This is usually done using laparoscopic surgery.

A medical management plan might include:

  • Pain medication
  • Hormonal therapy/contraception
  • Referral for laparoscopic surgery in one of our hospitals
  • Referral for physical therapy, such as pelvic floor physiotherapy
  • Referral to other specialists, such as gastroenterologists and dieticians, to help treat co-occurring conditions
  • Lifestyle changes

More information

There are some fantastic resources out there to support people living with endometriosis.

Find out more information and additional resources:

If you would like to discuss the pathway above, or if you need assistance, advice for any other sexual or reproductive health issue, please make an appointment with one of our friendly doctors.

 

The below brochure and poster will tell you all you need to know about our pathway. Please feel free to forward, print and distribute to anyone that might benefit.

Endometriosis and Persistent Pelvic Pain brochure
Endometriosis and Persistent Pelvic Pain poster A4

 

The Persistent Pelvic Pain initiative is supported by funding from Primary Health Tasmania (Tasmania PHN) through the Australian Government’s Primary Health Networks program.

This content is provided for general information and education purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances. It is not to be relied on in substitution for specific advice from a medical professional and Family Planning Tasmania does not accept responsibility for such use. Family Planning Tasmania has taken every effort to ensure that the information is up to date and accurate, however information and knowledge is subject to change. Family Planning Tasmania advises that you always consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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