A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

How to treat pelvic pain

Concept of female medicine. Digestive problems, gynecology, pregnancy, menstruation, stomach.

There are a variety of reasons for women to experience pelvic pain, including childbirth, aging, or a urogynecologic issue.

There are a variety of reasons for women to experience pelvic pain, including childbirth, aging, or a urogynecologic issue. How to treat pelvic pain will depend on its cause, so your first step is to discuss your symptoms with a qualified women’s health practitioner. To help you prepare for your appointment, here are a variety of treatments that might provide relief, including some lifestyle changes you can implement on your own:

  1. Relaxation & heat
  2. Physical therapy or massage
  3. Nutritional supplements
  4. Regular exercise
  5. Over-the-counter pain relief
  6. Medical treatments
  7. Surgery

Learn more about how to treat pelvic pain with these methods below.

Relaxation & heat

A hot bath or heating pad can soothe your aches and increase blood flow for pain relief, no matter what the cause. For pelvic pain stemming from conditions like endometriosis or painful periods, the heat can help relax cramping muscles. Prioritizing time for relaxation or meditation can also reduce stress, which many women find helpful for alleviating pain.

Physical therapy or massage

Several types of physical therapy can help to treat symptoms of pelvic pain. These therapy methods include acupuncture, acupressure, nerve stimulation, and relaxation exercise therapies. Those tiny needles may look scary, but a review of studies on acupuncture and chronic pelvic pain found that when combined with conventional treatment, adding acupuncture therapy provided added relief for some women. Pelvic massage can also help with pain relief for endometriosis and cramping.

Nutritional supplements

Certain vitamins and minerals may also play a role in helping to treat pelvic pain. Supplementing both magnesium and vitamin B1 can help relieve dysmenorrhea (uterine cramps), which is another cause of pelvic pain.

Regular exercise

Often when we’re feeling pain, exercise is the last thing on our minds. But, as long as your health provider has cleared you for activity, it can be helpful for some pelvic pain issues. Exercise increases blood flow and endorphins, which can both help to relieve chronic pain (and stress). It also boosts your immune system to help your body fight infections. A short walk several times a week is a good start.

Over-the-counter pain relief

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) include options like aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen, and they serve two functions. The first is straightforward pain relief to help get you through the day. The second is reducing inflammation, so if that is a source of your pelvic pain, NSAIDs can work to treat the issue instead of just masking the pain. However, taking these too often can cause stomach ulcers and other side effects, so use caution and keep your provider informed.

Medical treatments

Depending on the cause, strategies on how to treat it medically can differ. If you have an infection, you may receive a prescription for antibiotics. If your pain is related to your menstrual cycle or menopause, hormone treatments may help. Also, certain antidepressants can relieve chronic pelvic pain even in patients who don’t have depression. There are plenty of medication options that can get you feeling back to normal again. Talk to your women’s health provider about the right option for you.


Your provider may suggest surgery as the answer to how to treat your symptoms. Many minimally invasive and traditional surgical techniques can address your pelvic pain at its source. Our board-certified Urogynecologist, Dr. Ken Ostermann, has decades of minimally invasive and laparoscopic surgery experience. He also brings a specialty in robotics to surgically treat conditions such as pelvic floor disorders and urinary incontinence.

If you are dealing with pelvic pain and unsure of your next steps, schedule an appointment with our doctors, midwives, and women’s health team by calling (920) 885-6090 or request an appointment online.

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