Tests do not always involve getting a report from a laboratory. Your own history and the way you describe the pattern of your pain can provide much more valuable information or results. Because of this, you may be asked to keep a ‘pain diary’. This involves noting down when your pain occurs, how severe it is, how long it lasts and the things that seem to affect it.
- You will probably be offered an ultrasound scan.
- You may be offered screening tests for sexually transmitted infections.
- If your pain is related to psychological, bladder or bowel symptoms, your consultant may refer you to a specialist or suggest you see your GP. If you have bowel symptoms, for example, you may be referred to a gastroenterologist who may offer you tests for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- If your pain occurs on a regular basis at a specific time in your menstrual cycle, then you may be offered drugs to suppress your periods for a few months. This may help your doctor in making a diagnosis.
- You may be offered a diagnostic laparoscopy. This is a procedure carried out under general anaesthetic. It involves a small cut in the abdomen to examine your reproductive organs and look for any abnormality, problems or damage.
- If your health professional thinks that your pain is due to a particular cause, you may be offered treatment on a ‘try it and see’ basis. Such treatment could help you to avoid a diagnostic laparoscopy, which carries small but significant risks.
Whatever your situation, you may be offered painkillers. If these do not help to control your pain, you may be referred to a pain management team or a specialist pelvic pain clinic. Depending on the type of your pain you may also be offered other treatment.
Your doctor will provide you with full information about all treatment options.