Pelvic Pain: Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Written By: Dr. Charles Badr Nagy Rafael

Dr Charles Nagy is the first surgeon in the Middle East & the second globally, to be accredited & recognized by the SRC as a Master Surgeon in multidisciplinary Endometriosis care.

Updated On:December 27, 2023

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What is Pelvic Pain?

Although the term "pelvic pain" is frequently used to describe pain around a woman's reproductive organs, it can affect people of all sexes and have other origins. Pelvic discomfort can be an indication of an infection, come from the pelvic bone, or come from internal organs that are not involved in reproduction. But in women, pelvic pain may very well be a sign that one of the reproductive organs in the pelvic region (the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and vagina) may be having a problem.

Causes of Pelvic Pain

You may experience pelvic pain for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Appendicitis
  • bladder problems, including UTI infections
  • infections spread through sexual contact
  • Renal infection or kidney stones
  • gastrointestinal problems (such as colitis or diverticulitis)
  • Neurological disorders (such as compressed spinal nerves)
  • Hernia
  • Pelvic problems (including pelvic muscle stiffness and spasm)
  • Broken pelvic bones
  • Pain caused by psychological trauma from the past or stress

Following are some potential female pelvic discomfort causes:

  • Pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy
  • Miscarriage
  • PID, or pelvic inflammatory disorder
  • Ovulation
  • Period cramps
  • Ovarian diseases or ovarian cysts.
  • Endometriosis.
  • Certain types of cancer

Symptoms of Pelvic Pain

There may be additional symptoms or warning signals in addition to pelvic discomfort. Among the most typical signs of pelvic pain are:

  • Bleeding, spotting, or discharge from the vagina
  • A painful period
  • Discomfort while urinating
  • Bloating or diarrhea
  • Gas or bloating
  • Hemorrhage in the rectum
  • Suffering when having sex
  • Chills or a fever
  • Hip ache
  • Discomfort in the groin area

 

When to see a doctor for Pelvic Pain?

Call a medical professional straight away if your pelvic pain just started. If your pelvic discomfort is so severe that it interferes with your everyday activities, you should make an appointment as well.

Pelvic Pain Risk Factors

An increased chance of experiencing pelvic discomfort is linked to drug or alcohol addiction, miscarriage, heavy menstrual flow, pelvic inflammatory disease, prior cesarean section, pelvic pathology, abuse, and psychological comorbidities.

Pelvic Pain Complications

Up to one-third of women who experience chronic pelvic pain develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It is believed that infection-related inflammation, scarring, and adhesions are to blame for the pain. Recurrent PID is the best indicator of the development of persistent pelvic pain linked to PID.

Abscesses and scar tissue can form in the reproductive system as a result of untreated pelvic inflammatory illness. The reproductive organs may suffer long-lasting harm as a result of this. Moreover, other complications that could result from pelvic inflammatory disease include ectopic pregnancy, infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and tubo-ovarian abscess.

Pelvic Pain Diagnosis

Your symptoms and medical background will be examined by a healthcare professional to determine the reason for your pelvic discomfort. Finding the source of pelvic discomfort could also benefit from a physical examination or other procedures. Several diagnostic instruments might be:

  • Tests on blood and/or urine
  • Pregnancy tests for those who are fertile
  • Penile or vaginal cultures to test for sexually transmitted illnesses including chlamydia and gonorrhea
  • X-rays of the pelvis and abdomen
  • Laparoscopy: A procedure that gives you a clear view of the organs in your abdomen and pelvis)
  • Hysteroscopy: A procedure to inspect your uterus
  • Stool sample to look for blood stains in your feces
  • Lower endoscopy, which involves inserting a lit tube to see inside your colon and rectum
  • Ultrasound is a technique that produces images of interior organs by using sound waves
  • CT scan to create cross-sectional images of your body in your abdomen and pelvis

 

Pelvic Pain Treatment

The source, severity, and frequency of the pain all affect how pelvic pain is treated. Typical therapies for pelvic discomfort include:

  • Medicine. When necessary, medication, including antibiotics, is used to alleviate pelvic pain.
  • Surgery. If one of your pelvic organs is the source of the pain, surgery or other treatments may be necessary.
  • Physical therapy. In rare circumstances, your doctor may advise physical therapy to reduce pelvic pain.

Chronic pelvic discomfort can be frustrating and upsetting to live with. Working with a qualified counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist can often be advantageous, according to studies. Your healthcare practitioner may provide further details on the various pelvic pain therapies.

Pelvic Pain Prevention

Sometimes it's impossible to avoid pelvic pain. On the other hand, following these suggestions can assist in lowering your risk:

  • Limit your time spent standing or moving about for extended periods of time.
  • Take in more fiber. This is especially useful if diverticulitis is the cause of your pelvic pain.
  • Get frequent exercise. Being physically active helps maintain healthy joints and muscles.
  • Activate your muscles. To assist lower the chance of pelvic pain, warm up before working out.
  • Seek medical attention regularly. Your medical staff can identify problems early on before they worsen with the aid of routine checkups.

References

Berkley, K. J. (2005). A life of pelvic pain. Physiology & behavior86(3), 272-280.

Howard, F. M. (2003). Chronic pelvic pain. Obstetrics & Gynecology101(3), 594-611.

Latthe, P., Mignini, L., Gray, R., Hills, R., & Khan, K. (2006). Factors predisposing women to chronic pelvic pain: Systematic review. Bmj332(7544), 749-755.

Stones, W., Cheong, Y. C., Howard, F. M., Singh, S., & Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility Group. (1996). Interventions for treating chronic pelvic pain in women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews2010(11).

Vercellini, P., Somigliana, E., Viganò, P., Abbiati, A., Barbara, G., & Fedele, L. (2009). Chronic pelvic pain in women: etiology, pathogenesis and diagnostic approach. Gynecological Endocrinology25(3), 149-158.

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