What is pelvic pain?
Pelvic pain is defined as internal pain in the lowest part of your abdomen, the area below the belly button (umbilicus), and pelvis. It is classified into acute and chronic pelvic pain.
How common is pelvic pain?
This health condition is extremely common. It commonly affects more females than males and can affect patients at any age from adolescent and the elder. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of pelvic pain?
The pain can present itself as a minor ache or as severe intolerable pain, varies from one person to another. It may be dull or sharp, constant or intermittent; vary in intensity from mild, moderate, or severe.
Pelvis pain can lead to other symptoms, such as:
- Back pain;
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:
- The pain influences to your job/daily routine.
- Difficulties during sexual activity, ability to have orgasms, erection/ejaculation;
- Constipation, chronic incontinence;
Pelvis pain during pregnancy can be a sign of pregnancy problems. In cases such as ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage, an immediate surgery may be recommended to avoid severe complications.
What causes pelvic pain?
Acute pelvis pain
Pelvic pain in male and female patient can be a sign of failure in bladder, bowel, sexual function, or bowel obstruction. They can be life-threatening if they lead to peritonitis and sepsis.
A wide range of conditions can cause or contribute to pelvic pain in the adolescent female in gynecologic conditions. As a female enters adolescence and begins menstruation, the differential diagnosis of pelvic pain expands greatly.
Life-threatening pelvic pain can be the result of a physical trauma, such as a fall from a height or motor vehicle crash.
Chronic pelvis pain
Chronis pelvis pain in women often involves the sex organs, such as a cyst forming in the uterus or PCOS. Sometimes the pain is tied to problems with intestine or bladder that lasts for at least 6-month. It may or may not be associated with menstrual periods.
Sometimes a chronic condition due to abnormal function of the nervous system (called as “neuropathic pain”).
Sometimes, a treatment of medical conditions can cause pelvis pain afterwards:
- Past medical/surgical history with pelvic reconstruction (bladder, slings, mesh);
- Hysterectomies, C–sections, prostate surgeries, multiple abdominal surgeries;
- Past cancer radiation, chemotherapy.
What increases my risk for pelvic pain?
Common conditions that can increase your risk of pelvis pain are:
- Dysmenorrhea is the most common gynecologic cause of pelvic pain during adolescence;
- Pelvic inflammation diseases (PID);
- Urinary tract infections;
- Urologic etiologies (such as, urinary tract infection);
- Gastrointestinal conditions (such as, constipation, gastrointestinal infection, functional abdominal pain).
- Ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage;
- Interstitial cystitis;
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS);
- Pelvic organs prolapse.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is pelvic pain diagnosed?
Pelvic pain can be diagnosed by your doctor by:
- Using imaging tests, such as X-ray, ultrasound or MRI;
- Screening of the spine, pelvis, and the hips (ROM pain, functional movement patterns);
- Palpation of pelvic floor anatomy: Checking the response of the muscle tone for spasms, atrophy, integrity of soft tissue/scar tissue/neuromas;
- Abdominal muscle efficiency;
- Pelvic floor strength (sustain contraction);
- Pelvic floor coordination (quick flick contraction);
- Urine test for infection of the bladder;
- Complete blood count and inflammatory markers;
- Detection of sexual transmitted diseases.
How is pelvic pain treated?
That depends on what is causing your pelvic pain. Possible treatments could include:
- Pain medicines;
- Birth control pills;
- Change in diet;
- Biofeedback, a technique that helps you learn how to control certain muscles;
- Physical therapy, acupuncture or massages to help loosen or relax the muscles in the pelvic area;
- Talk therapy or other types of counseling, which can help you learn ways to cope and manage the pain;
- Devices that block pain using mild electrical shocks;
- Surgery to remove the cause of the pain, if possible;
- If the pain occurs due to normal changes in pregnancy, the doctor may recommend measures to relieve the pain such as resting/exercising/ applying heat.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage pelvic pain?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with pelvic pain:
- Tell your doctor if the symptoms persist or get worse after treatment for some time.
- Tell your doctor if you have new symptoms or you do not feel well while taking the drug.
- Exercise moderately.
- Take your medicines as directed by your doctor even if you feel better already. Stopping medication can cause symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder return.
- Contact your doctor before you use drugs or other functional foods.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Lamvu G, Steege JF. The anatomy and neurophysiology of pelvic pain. J Minim Invasive Gynecol 2006. Medical Program content. Accessed December 4, 2016.
Barnhart KT, Sammel MD, Gracia CR, et al. Risk factors for ectopic pregnancy in women with symptomatic first-trimester pregnancies. Fertil Steril 2006. Accessed December 4, 2016.
Cervero F, Laird JM. Visceral pain. Lancet 1999. Download version. Accessed December 4, 2016.
Pelvic Pain Rehab By Anelyn Delmonte-Purifoy, PT Civilian Supervisor of Physical Therapy Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia. Accessed December 4, 2016.
https://www.allacronyms.com/_medical/. Accessed December 4, 2016.
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017