Anne Mosley developed intense pelvic pain while she was pregnant with her youngest child 17 years ago. The pain was caused by a grape-sized pocket of fluid on her urethra, which became infected.
Mosley underwent surgery to correct the issue only to develop nerve damage from the procedure. This caused the pain to persist and grow progressively worse over the past 10 years. Mosley lost her appetite during this time and routine activities such as urinating, sleeping and getting out of bed became excruciating.
"I had to quit my job and my relationships were affected, because I was in bed or vomiting most days from the pain," Mosley said. "I had just about given up hope that I would ever heal and live a normal life."
After nearly two decades and countless doctor visits, physical therapy appointments, medications, surgeries and related health complications, Mosley turned to Colleen Fitzgerald, MD, and a team of chronic pelvic pain specialists at Loyola University Health System (LUHS) for help.
"My colleagues and I were able to look at her pain from a chronic neuromuscular perspective and identify exactly what was causing the severe discomfort," said Colleen Fitzgerald, MD, MS, associate professor, Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. "I prescribed one medication and her response was fairly immediate and significant."
Mosley is now pain free for the first time in nearly 20 years. She has returned to work and she now enjoys everyday life, including playing with her grandchildren.
"It was the first time that someone listened enough to pinpoint the pain," Mosley said. "My youngest child has only known me in pain, so to have my health back is priceless, and for my family to have their wife, mother and grandmother back is a miracle."
Chronic pelvic pain is one of the most common medical problems in women. It is characterized by pain in the pelvic region that lasts for more than six months. Twenty-five percent of women with CPP may spend two to three days in bed each month, more than half cut back on regular activities and 90 percent experience pain with intercourse.
In 60 percent of CPP patients, there is no known cause. However, symptoms can begin as a result of severe menstrual cramps, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, musculoskeletal issues, pain from the bowel or bladder, infection, scar tissue or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. CPP often can be caused by more than one of these issues. Women often see several physicians before they get symptom relief.
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