Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain can be especially frustrating for a woman, since it can be intermittent and it can vary in intensity. Pelvic pain can occur daily, at a certain time of the month, or other times such as during sex or after eating. Many women experience pelvic pain at some time in their lives.

Call us to schedule an appointment if you’re experiencing pelvic pain ­– especially if the pain is getting worse or if it is disrupting your quality of life.

Pelvic pain causes

Pelvic pain can be caused by a variety of factors. These include:

  • infection or inflammation of the reproductive organs, urinary tract, bowel, or appendix
  • ovarian cysts (liquid-filled sacs that form in the ovaries)
  • ectopic pregnancy, which is when a pregnancy occurs outside the uterus, often in a fallopian tube
  • dysmenorrhea, or severe menstrual pain
  • ovulation pain, which occurs in the middle part of the menstrual cycle
  • endometriosis, which is when tissue similar to the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus
  • adenomyosis, which occurs when uterine lining extends into the muscle wall of the uterus
  • fibroids, which are non-cancerous growths that can grow in or on the uterus
  • gastrointestinal or urologic problems
  • muscular and skeletal problems
  • depression or other psychologic disorders

Diagnosing pelvic pain

In order to diagnose the cause of your pelvic pain, your doctor will probably ask you questions about your medical history. You also may be asked to keep a record of where and when you feel pain (time of day, time of month, and timing relative to various activities such as eating, urinating, sleeping, sex, etc.). You also may be asked to keep track of your pain’s intensity and how long it lasts.

Your doctor may also request and order a physical exam, a pelvic exam or medical tests. These tests may include:

  • ultrasound, which uses sound waves to generate an image that can be viewed on a screen
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which uses a magnetic field to show internal organs and structures
  • X-ray, sometimes used with an injected dye
  • Laparoscopy

Pelvic pain treatments

Pelvic pain can be treated in a variety of ways, sometimes even when the specific cause of pain is not known. These methods include:

  • medication or antibiotics, which are often used to treat infection
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen
  • vitamins or supplements
  • hormones, including birth control pills
  • antidepressants
  • heat therapy
  • muscle relaxants
  • nerve blocks
  • mental exercises
  • physical therapy such as yoga, massage, stretching and exercise
  • acupuncture
  • biofeedback
  • surgery

Additional Information:

The Endometriosis Association
HealthyWomen: Endometriosis