Pelvic pain is localized in the lower part of the abdomen and pelvis. In a woman, pelvic pain results from conditions of the urinary system, the reproductive system, or it may even have a musculoskeletal cause.
Depending on its cause, pelvic pain can be:
- Acute – Acute pelvic pain is characterized by a sudden, sharp, or brief pain
- Chronic – chronic pain is usually more moderate, and it is present over a long period of time
Depending on its source, pelvic pain can also be:
Pelvic pain may also be sharp or dull and even radiate to:
- Lower back
In some cases, pelvic pain occurs only during sexual activity or while urinating.
What Causes Pelvic Pain?
As mentioned before, pelvic pain in woman results from conditions that affect the urinary system, the reproductive system, or the musculoskeletal system.
Pelvic pain that results from the reproductive system can be caused from:
- Menstrual cramps – many woman experience menstrual cramps before and during menstrual periods. Menstrual cramps are usually mild to moderate, however, in some cases, menstrual cramps are severe.
- Ovulation – is the process of producing the egg in the female reproductive system. The pain is usually mild to moderate, while in some cases, it can be severe. The ovulation pain in the pelvis occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle and lasts only a few hours.
- Sexually transmitted diseases – STD like gonorrhea or chlamydia
- Endometriosis – is a condition that affects woman in their reproductive life. It is one of the main causes of infertility among woman. Pelvic pain caused by endometriosis usually occurs around the time of the period or while having sexual intercourse.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease – is the infection of the reproductive system. The bacteria usually get inside the uterus travelling from the vagina and cervix. The signs and symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease include pelvic and abdominal pain, high fever, vaginal bleeding, and vaginal discharge.
- Miscarriage – is the spontaneous loss of pregnancy before the 24th week. Miscarriage usually occurs before the 13th week, and it is characterized by vaginal spotting and vaginal bleeding, abdominal cramps, abdominal pain, and pelvic pain.
- Ectopic pregnancy – is the pregnancy outside of the uterus. The symptoms can get worse over the days, or the pain might also have a sudden onset. Vaginal bleeding is also often present.
- Ovarian cysts – are sacs created inside the ovary, which are filled with fluid. Most ovarian cysts are benign and do not cause any symptoms. However, in some cases, the pain caused by ovarian cysts is severe.
- Ovarian cancer, etc.
Other conditions that cause pelvic pain include:
- Urinary tract infections – are considered the infection of the bladder, urethra, ureters, or kidneys. Pelvic pain is also accompanied by frequent urination, a burning sensation while urinating, a persistent urge to urinate, etc.
- Chronic constipation – occurs when bowel movements are irregular and there is difficulty with the passage of stools. The problem persists for a couple of weeks, and usually, there are less than three bowel movements in a week.
- Appendicitis – is the inflammation of the appendix. Usually, the pain starts in the middle of the abdomen and travels to the lower right side of the abdomen. Other signs and symptoms of appendicitis include nausea, vomiting, constipation, frequent urination, etc.
- Pelvic floor muscle spasm, etc.
How Is the Cause of Pelvic Pain Determined?
Your doctor will ask you questions that will help him/her to determine the cause of pelvic pain. Your doctor will also run some tests, like:
- Blood test
- Pregnancy test
- Stool test
- Abdominal and pelvic X-Ray
- Ultrasound of the abdomen and pelvis
- Lower endoscopy
How Is Pelvic Pain Treated?
The treatment of pelvic pain depends on its cause. The treatment usually varies from certain medications, including Laparoscopic surgery treatment if necessary.
Pelvic Pain FAQ
What Can Pelvic Pain Be a Sign Of?
In women, pelvic pain can be a sign of ovulation or menstrual cramps. It can also be a sign of gastrointestinal issues such as food intolerance. Keep in mind that pain in the pelvis can also occur because of a more serious problem. In some cases, pelvic pain can be a sign of an infection or problem with the reproductive system or organs in the area. If this is the case, a woman should immediately make an appointment with a doctor.
How to Reduce Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy?
There are several methods that can help you reduce pelvic pain during pregnancy. Although, you need to keep in mind that what works for one person does not necessarily work for another. The most common recommendations are exercising in water, making use of pelvic physiotherapy to strengthen your pelvic floor, resting when possible, avoiding pushing yourself through pain, and avoiding moving too much.
What Is Chronic Pelvic Pain?
Chronic pelvic pain is pain below the belly button and between the hips that lasts for six months and more. This type of disorder can have multiple causes, or it can be a symptom of another disease. Pain in the pelvis can be caused by another health condition. If this is the case, treating that disorder might be enough for the pelvic pain to disappear. However, specialists put an emphasis on the fact that it might be impossible to identify the root cause of chronic pelvic pain. In this case, the main goal of treatment is to reduce the symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Can Pain in Pelvis Be Psychological?
Yes, it is possible. The pain can be real, but there will be no identifiable physical cause. There are people who have emotional disorders that only show up as physical symptoms. It is also known that women who have been sexually assaulted or abused tend to have long-term pelvic pain afterward.
When Should I Visit a Doctor?
In the vast majority of cases, pain in the pelvis does not require medical care. However, there are several occasions when it is required. For instance, severe and new pain requires a doctor’s assessment. Moreover, if you suspect an infection is causing pain, you should make an appointment with a specialist. If you experience unexpected vaginal bleeding, it is recommended to seek medical assistance promptly.
Do you have questions? Would like to schedule an appointment with the top rated Pelvic Pain specialist, please contact our Brooklyn Heights office.
Dr. Amir Marashi, MD
Brooklyn GYN Place
142 Joralemon Street, Suite 4CF
Brooklyn, NY 11201