Pelvic pain is a sign that there might be a problem with one of the reproductive organs in a woman’s pelvic area.
Although pelvic pain often refers to pain in the region of women’s internal reproductive organs, it can also be present in either sex and can stem from other causes.
Pelvic pain might be a symptom of infection, or might arise from pain in the pelvis bone or in non-reproductive internal organs.
In women, however, pelvic pain can very well be an indication that there might be a problem with one of the reproductive organs in the pelvic area (uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and vagina).
Read on to learn possible causes for pelvic pain in women, when to seek help, and how to manage this symptom.
Common Causes of Pelvic Pain in Women
There are many causes of both acute and chronic pelvic pain. Acute pelvic pain refers to sudden or new pain. Chronic pain refers to a long-lasting condition, which may remain constant or come and go.
Below are some causes of pelvic pain;
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
This is an infection in the womb that can damage the surrounding tissue. PID can arise if bacteria from the vagina or cervix enter the womb (uterus) and take hold.
It’s typically caused by an untreated sexually transmitted infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea .
Women often experience no symptoms when they’re first infected. If left untreated, PID can cause serious complications, including chronic, severe pain in the pelvis or abdomen.
Other symptoms can include:
- bleeding during intercourse
- heavy vaginal discharge and odor
- difficulty or pain during urination
PID requires immediate medical attention to avoid additional complications, including:
This occurs when an individual feels a painful sensation on one side of their pelvis in the middle of their menstrual cycle.
When a person ovulates, the ovaries release an egg and some other fluid. The egg will then travel down the fallopian tube and into the uterus.
The fluid released by the ovary can also enter the abdominal cavity and pelvis, which can cause irritation.
The discomfort may last for minutes or hours, and it may switch sides of the body, depending on which ovary released the egg. This pain is temporary and requires no specific treatment.
However, consult a healthcare professional if the pain is sharp or occurs at other times during the menstrual cycle.
An adhesion is scar tissue that occurs inside the body and joins two tissues that should not connect. This may result in pain as the body struggles to adapt to the adhesion.
Conversely, the scar tissue could form due to an old infection, endometriosis, prior surgeries, or other issues in the area.
Pelvic adhesions may lead to chronic pelvic pain in some women, and they may cause other symptoms, depending on where the scar tissue appears.
Learn about other causes of adhesions here and how to get rid of it completely without surgery.
Fibroids are lumps of muscle and fibrous tissue within the uterus. They are the most common benign gynecologic tumor.
While they are noncancerous, these growths can be a source of pain. Symptoms vary based on the size and location. Many women don’t have any symptoms at all.
Large fibroids may cause a feeling of pressure or a dull aching pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen. They may also cause:
- bleeding during intercourse
- interfere with conception
- fullness in the pelvis
- heavy periods
- trouble with urination
- leg pain
- back pain
- chronic pelvic pain
- sharp pelvic pain
- heavy vaginal bleeding between periods
- trouble voiding your bladder
- pregnancy complications
- pregnancy loss and adverse obstetric outcomes.
Menstrual Pain and Cramps
Pelvic pain can occur before and during menstruation and is usually described as cramps in the pelvis or lower abdomen.
Pain during menstruation is called dysmenorrhea. This pain may feel like cramps in the abdomen, or like a nagging pain in the thighs and lower back. It may be accompanied by:
- tender breasts
- mood swings
- joint pain
These symptoms usually, though not always, dissipate once menstruation begins. If your menstrual pain is severe, discuss pain management with your doctor.
This condition occurs when the endometrium, or tissue that lines the inside of the uterus, grows outside of the uterus.
Often times, it cause chronic, prolonged pelvic pain in some females. When a person’s period begins, the tissue outside of the uterus responds to hormonal changes. Which may cause bleeding and inflammation in the pelvis.
Some people may experience mild to severe pain. Endometriosis may make it difficult for some women to become pregnant.
Ovarian cysts occur when the ovaries fail to release an egg. The follicle holding the egg may not open entirely or become clogged with fluid. When this happens, a growth called a cyst forms in the area.
Cysts in the ovary often don’t cause any symptoms. If they’re large, you may feel either a dull or sharp pain on one side of your pelvis or abdomen.
However, it may cause bloating, pressure, or pelvic pain on the side of the body with the cyst.
Doctors can identify ovarian cysts using ultrasound.
Cancer can occur in many areas of the pelvis, including the:
Symptoms vary, but often include dull, aching pain in the pelvis and abdomen, and pain during intercourse. Unusual vaginal discharge is another common symptom.
Getting regular checkups and gynecological exams can help you find cancers early, when they’re easier to treat.
Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy
Pain during pregnancy is usually not cause for alarm. As your body adjusts and grows, your bones and ligaments stretch. That can cause feelings of pain or discomfort.
However, any pain that makes you nervous, even if it’s mild, should be discussed with your doctor.
Especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, or if it doesn’t go away or lasts for an extended period of time.
- vaginal bleeding or bright red spotting
- abdominal cramps
- feelings of pain in the pelvis, abdomen, or lower back
- flow of fluid or tissue from the vagina
If you think you’re having a miscarriage, call your doctor or go to an emergency room immediately.
Ectopic pregnancies occur shortly after conception if a fertilized egg implants itself in a fallopian tube or other part of the reproductive tract instead of in the uterus.
This type of pregnancy is never viable and may result in rupture of the fallopian tube and internal bleeding.
The primary symptoms are sharp, intense pain and vaginal bleeding. The pain may occur in the abdomen or pelvis.
Pain may also radiate up toward the shoulder or neck if internal bleeding has occurred and blood has pooled under the diaphragm.
Ectopic pregnancies may be dissolved with medication or may require surgery.
Ovarian (adnexal) Torsion
If your ovary twists suddenly on its spindle, you will feel immediate, sharp, excruciating pain. The pain is sometimes accompanied by nausea and vomiting. This pain can also begin days before as intermittent cramping.
Ovarian torsion is a medical emergency which usually requires immediate surgery. If you experience anything like this, seek medical care immediately.
Other Causes of Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain can be caused by a wide range of additional conditions in both men and women. These include:
- enlarged spleen
- chronic constipation
- femoral and inguinal hernias
- pelvic floor muscle spasm
- ulcerative colitis
- kidney stones
- Premature labor
- Placental abruption
When to See a Doctor for Pelvic Pain
It is not always necessary to seek medical care for pelvic pain. However, a person should consult a healthcare professional if they:
- suspect that an infection is causing pelvic pain
- experience unexpected vaginal bleeding and severe pain
- have a known condition and experience sudden changes in pain
People should see a healthcare professional for routine check-ups to ensure overall gynecological health.
I hope you found this information helpful!
Stay healthy and never give up!
c/o Plan B Wellness Limited
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