Pelvic pain is pain in the lowest part of your abdomen and pelvis. In women, pelvic pain might refer to symptoms arising from the reproductive, urinary or digestive systems, or from musculoskeletal sources.
What Are The Symptoms?
Depending on its source, pelvic pain can be dull or sharp; it might be constant or off and on (intermittent); and it might be mild, moderate or severe. Pelvic pain can sometimes radiate to your lower back, buttocks or thighs. Sometimes, you might notice pelvic pain only at certain times, such as when you urinate or during sexual activity.
Pelvic pain can occur suddenly, sharply and briefly (acute) or over the long term (chronic). Chronic pelvic pain refers to any constant or intermittent pelvic pain that has been present for six months or more.
What Are The Causes?
Several types of diseases and conditions can cause pelvic pain. Chronic pelvic pain can result from more than one condition. Pelvic pain can arise from your digestive, reproductive or urinary system. Recently, doctors have recognized that some pelvic pain, particularly chronic pelvic pain, can also arise from muscles and connective tissue (ligaments) in the structures of the pelvic floor.
Occasionally, pelvic pain might be caused by irritation of nerves in the pelvis.
Pelvic pain arising from the female reproductive system might be caused by conditions such as:
- Ectopic pregnancy (or other pregnancy-related conditions)
- Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
- Miscarriage (before the 20th week) or intrauterine fetal death
- Mittelschmerz (ovulation pain)
- Ovarian cancer
- Ovarian cysts
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Uterine fibroids
Other causes in women or men
Examples of other possible causes of pelvic pain — in women or men — include:
- Colon cancer
- Crohn’s disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease)
- Inguinal hernia
- Interstitial cystitis (also called painful bladder syndrome)
- Intestinal obstruction
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Kidney stones
- Past physical or sexual abuse
- Pelvic floor muscle spasms
- Ulcerative colitis
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
What Are The Treatments?
Treatment depends on the cause of pelvic pain, how intense the pain is, and how often the pain occurs. No single treatment approach has been shown to be better than another. Finding a treatment that works can take time
Some treatment options include:
- Medications. Many types of medications are used to treat pelvic pain. These include pain relievers that are swallowed or injected, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants.
- Hormonal treatment. Hormones can help pain related to endometriosis
- Lifestyle changes. Some diets can be effective in treating pain, such as the anti-inflammatory diet.
- Physical therapy. Some types of pain, such as muscle and connective tissue pain, respond well to physical therapy.
- Surgery. Some surgery has been helpful in reducing pain that women get fibroids, endometriosis, and adhesions.
- Counseling. Mental health counseling may be helpful in treating the effects of the pain.
- Spinal Cord Stimulators have been known to be effective in treating pelvic pain.
- Steroid injections have also been helpful in relieving pelvic pain.