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Pelvic Pain in Women: Causes and Treatment

Pelvic pain normally affects the lower part of the abdomen. Most women experience it while the severity depends on individual immunity. Pelvic pain can be a common sign of a slight infection in the body, or it could be a sign of underlying health problems. Pelvic pain symptoms may be intermittent or constant. The symptoms may appear differently for each woman, some of the most common types of pelvic pain include localised pelvic pain, pelvic cramping, or sudden pelvic pain in women.

Pelvic pain in women can be accompanied by other symptoms such as vaginal discharge and lower back pain. Pelvic pain that lasts for more than two-three months without improvement may be a cause of chronic disease. The intensity and nature of pelvic pain may fluctuate in women, so it’s important to know about the causes of pelvic pain.

A] What Causes Pelvic Pain in Women?

1. Menstrual Cramps 

Period cramps often cause pain in the pelvic area. Almost half of women who menstruate experience the pain during the menstrual cycle. Menstrual cramping occurs when the woman starts her period and subsides in a day or two. It can also be experienced during heavy periods.

This pain is also similar to muscle spasms. Exercise and de-stressing techniques can help you to deal with pelvic pain caused by cramps. If the pain is severe, then its important to consult a doctor.

2. Ovulation 

In the process of ovulation, the ovaries release an egg along with some other fluid. The egg then travels down the fallopian tube and into the uterus. The fluid that is released by the ovary can spread in the pelvic area.

This process irritates the pelvic area that leads to pelvic pain. The discomfort caused by this reason may last for hours or minutes. It may also switch body sides depending on which ovary released the egg. Pelvic pain caused by ovulation is temporary and requires no special treatment.

3. Urinary Tract Infections 

Does it hurt when you pass urine? Do you feel that your bladder is always full? It could be a possible sign of a Urinary Tract Infection. Lower abdominal pelvic pain in females is also caused by urinary tract infections.

UTI refers to inflammation in the bladder due to bacterial infections. This happens when vaginal or skin bacteria enter the urethra and make way to the bladder. In mild cases, symptoms of UTI disappear by medicines. But if it is severe, then you may require to visit your doctor for further course of action.

4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases 

Pelvic pain in women may also be an indicator of sexually transmitted diseases. The two most common types of STD’S in women are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. The problem occurs in sexually active women.

Along with pelvic pain, other symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases may include vaginal discharge, painful urination, and bleeding between periods. If the disease is confirmed, then a woman needs to inform sexual partners about the infection so that it does not spread further.

5. Endometriosis

Pain in the pelvic area of women is common due to the condition Endometriosis. This usually occurs when there is a tissue growing outside the uterus, which is similar to the tissue that lines the uterus.

This can happen in fallopian tubes, ovaries, intestines, and bladder. At the time of periods, the tissue outside the uterus responds to the hormonal changes that may then cause inflammation and bleeding in the pelvis.

While the condition is not so severe, it may form scar tissue and cause pain in the pelvic area. The condition also makes it difficult for some women to conceive a child. The pain caused by Endometriosis may be mild or severe depending on the condition.

6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome 

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a gut disorder that causes pelvic pain, bloating, constipation, and inflammation. The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome may increase with time or subside with time depending on individual health conditions.

There is no specific medicine that is administered to cure the condition of IBS. Most doctors recommend lifestyle changes, diet control, and stress management to reduce the signs of irritable bowel syndrome. If the condition goes undetected, then it may cause some other problems in the future.

7. Urinary Stones

Urinary stones are also one of the causes of pelvic pain in women. The stones in the urinary tract consist of minerals and salts such as calcium. At times, the body has trouble getting rid of it through urine.

The minerals can form small crystals in the kidney or bladder and cause pain in the lower back or pelvic region. Stones also cause urine to change colour to pink or reddish at times. Not all the urinary stones require treatment, but passing them can be quite painful for most women. If the condition is severe, then you must visit the doctor, as surgery may be required.

8. Ovarian Cysts

When you ovulate, ovaries release eggs. The follicle that holds the egg may not completely open and that may cause fluid to clog. When there is swelling because of clogged fluid, it causes a cyst.

Ovarian cysts may cause bloating, pelvic pain, or pressure on the abdominal area. Most cysts are harmless and may disappear with time. But when a cyst bursts or bleeds it may cause severe damage to the body, which may then require immediate medical treatment. The ultrasound process can help to identify the ovarian cyst in women, and then they can proceed for ovarian cyst treatment.

9. Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are lumps of fibrous tissue that grow within or at the wall of the uterus. Though at times they are called fibroid tumours, they are not cancerous. The growth can cause pain in the lower abdomen and pelvic region.

It can also cause discomfort during sexual intercourse. Fibroids may also cause bleeding or cramping during periods. Fibroids are most common in the age group of the ’30s and ’40s. Most fibroids do not require any specific treatment, but if the problem persists, then surgery may be required. To learn more, check out our blog on fibroid symptoms.

10. Ectopic Pregnancy

Just as the name, the pregnancy is complicated as the embryo implants itself outside the uterus and starts growing. This happens in the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy may cause symptoms like sharp pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding, cramps, nausea, and dizziness. If the condition is detected, then it requires an immediate treatment procedure. Ectopic pregnancy can also be a life-threatening emergency.

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B] When to see a doctor?

If the pelvic area pain you have been experiencing suddenly becomes too much, you should consider immediately contacting your doctor, especially If you are experiencing unbearable pelvic cramping along following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Blood in your urine or stool

C] Possible Treatments of Pelvic Pain in Women

1. Medications 

Medications depend on the cause of pelvic pain. For normal pain, most doctors recommend over the counter medicines such as aspirin or iBrufen. Acetaminophen medicine may also provide partial relief from pelvic pain, but it cannot be taken without the prescription of the doctor. A combination of pain relievers and other medicines also treats pelvic pain in women.

2. Hormone Treatments 

Hormone treatments are mostly recommended to women who suffer from pelvic pain due to menstruation or ovulation problem. Some women find that the days when they have pelvic pain may overlap with a phase of the menstrual cycle and hormonal changes that control ovulation and menstruation.

In this case, hormonal medications or birth control pills may help to relieve the pelvic pain. It can also treat other pelvic pain symptoms.

3. Antidepressants

For chronic pelvic pain, many antidepressants are recommended to women. Tricyclic antidepressants such as Nortriptyline and Amitriptyline have pain-relieving properties. These antidepressants may help to improve pelvic pain in women who do not suffer from any kind of depression. Suitability is subject to individual body immunity, so you need a proper prescription.

4. Physical Therapy 

Apart from medications, physical therapy plays a good role in reducing pelvic pain in women. Massage, stretching, and other relaxation techniques help to reduce pelvic pain. For this, you’ll need the strict guidance of a physical therapist. The therapist can guide and help you develop strategies for reducing the pain. Most therapists also use the biofeedback method that identifies the area of tight muscles so that the muscles can be relaxed.

5. Surgery 

The surgical procedure is generally recommended in extreme or severe cases to reduce pelvic pain. Laparoscopic surgery is recommended for endometriosis. In complicated cases, Hysterectomy is recommended. It involves the removal of the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. The doctor will discuss all the risks and benefits of the surgical process.

FAQs About Pelvic Pain in Women

What does pelvic pain feel like?
Pelvic pain feels like the discomfort that usually occurs in the lower part of the torso, the area that is below the abdomen and between the hipbones. It often feels like heaviness or cramping in the pelvic area.
Why should I be concerned about pelvic pain?

Sometimes pelvic pain is an indicator of an infection or any other underlying disease in the body. If the pain persists for more than 24 hours, then it can be a cause for worry. You need to see a professional gynaecologist immediately if the pain persists for long.

How do I get rid of pelvic pain?

Relax and take the heat that may improve blood circulation. Exercise and make a change in your diet. Try natural supplements and breathing exercises. If the pain is severe, then take prescribed over the counter medications.

Can pelvic pain be muscular?

Chronic pelvic pain can be caused by spasms of pelvic muscles lining in the pelvis. Fibromyalgia, Cutaneous, Anterior abdominal, or Pudendal nerve entrapment iliopsoas muscle spasm can also cause muscular pain in the pelvic region.

What happens if a cyst is left untreated?

Some cysts are filled with bacteria and pus that becomes an abscess. If the abscess bursts, it poses the risk of blood poisoning. If the cyst is cancerous, then it needs immediate medical treatment. A non-cancerous cyst may also need medication, so it is better to visit the doctor.

What does pelvic ultrasound detect?

An image produced to access vital organs within the female pelvis is done through Pelvic ultrasound, which is a noninvasive indicative test technique. Rapid Visualization process of pelvic organs like cervix, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes can be done through this test.

What does pelvic pain feel like in pregnancy?

It feels like mild cramping and twinges in the uterus. There may also be a feeling of fullness or discomfort in the pelvic region or back. It may feel somewhat like menstrual cramps.

When should I be concerned about pelvic pain during pregnancy?

Any unexpected pain that is associated with troubling symptoms needs medical care. If along with pelvic pain, you notice bleeding, cramping, blood in urine or stool, high fever, or vaginal discharge, then you need to consult your doctor.

How do you relieve pelvic pain during pregnancy?

Take a warm bath or get a prenatal massage. Try a pelvic support garment that can keep the uterus from pushing down your pelvis. Avoid quick movements and sharp turns. Wear flat shoes with good arch support. Exercise or follow prenatal yoga to relieve pain. To know more you can always read about our Pelvic pain treatment services.

To sum up,

If your pelvic pain is due to menstruation or other issues, then it may subside with time. But if it’s chronic, then you’ll need to visit your doctor for a further course of treatment.

In most cases, it is difficult to identify a single cause of pelvic pain. The goal of pelvic pain treatment should be to reduce other symptoms as well. Improve your quality of life by having a good diet plan.

Don’t forget to exercise daily to stay healthy and active. Pelvic pain in pregnancy can also be reduced by following prenatal yoga and exercises. Seek medical attention at a Gynaecology clinic in London if chronic pelvic pain disrupts your daily life or gets worse with time.

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Neha Goel

Neha Goel, a Psychology alumna and MBA graduate from CASS Business School, London, brings together her expertise as a Reiki Practitioner and Practice Manager. She integrates psychology and business strategies to foster holistic well-being and personal development.