Pelvic pain at a glance
- Pelvic pain occurs in the pelvic region where a woman’s reproductive organs are and can be caused by many different medical conditions.
- Pelvic pain can be a slow, dull pain throughout the entire lower abdomen or a sharp, strong pain in one area.
- Pelvic pain can be cause for concern regarding fertility and may be an indication of problems with reproductive organs (uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix or vagina).
- If a patient is trying to get pregnant and is experiencing pelvic pain, a reproductive endocrinologist can treat the underlying causes of endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts or dysmenorrhea.
What is pelvic pain?
The pelvis is the lowest part of a person’s abdomen, below the belly button. In women, the pelvis houses the bladder, bowel and the reproductive organs—uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix and vagina. Pain in the lower abdomen can be caused by a number of conditions, including infection or abnormality of a reproductive organ. It is important for a woman to speak with a doctor any time she feels continuous pelvic pain.
What causes pelvic pain?
The causes of pelvic pain can be divided into three main categories: gynecological, pregnancy related and bowel or bladder problems.
Gynecological problems that may cause pelvic pain:
- Heavy bleeding during the period (called dysmenorrhea)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Ovarian cysts
Early pregnancy related problems that can cause pelvic pain:
- Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that develops outside of the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube)
Other causes of pelvic pain include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Cystitis (bladder infection)
Pelvic pain symptoms and treatment
Pelvic pain can be characterized as a slow, dull pain throughout the abdomen or a sharp, strong pain localized in one area. In some instances, pelvic pain can also spread to the hips, back and legs. The type of pain usually depends on the issue causing the pain.
What is the treatment for pelvic pain?
Pelvic pain can be caused by normal physiological changes or abnormalities of the reproductive organs. If the cause of pelvic pain is known, an appropriate pain medication, such as ibuprofen, may help relieve the pain.
Pelvic pain can be treated with:
- Antibiotics to treat an infection such as PID
- Medications to help with pain and other symptoms
- Surgery to correct the problem
The course of treatment for pelvic pain is directly related to the cause of the pain. It is important to talk to a doctor when any abnormal pelvic pain is present.