Pelvic pain occurs mostly in the lower abdomen area and can come and go. Your discomfort may intensify after standing for long periods and can become so severe that you are unable to carry on with routine activities.
The most common causes of acute pain are:
- an ovarian cyst
- acute pelvic inflammatory disease
- a urinary tract infection
Pain that lasts longer than a few months is known as chronic pelvic pain. It is more intense than ordinary period pain and lasts longer. It affects around one in six women.
The most common causes of chronic pain are:
- chronic pelvic inflammatory disease
- irritable bowel syndrome
Pelvic Pain in Women
Women experiencing pelvic pain can be due to a medical condition involving the reproductive organs, urinary tract, lower gastrointestinal tract, or muscles of the abdominal wall. It’s important to tell your gynaecologist what kind of pain you’re having. Does it come on suddenly or is it constant? This will help the doctor make a proper diagnosis. Sharp pelvic pain may be a warning sign that you have an infection, a ruptured ovarian cyst, or a dangerous ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy growing outside the uterus). More constant pain or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen are suggestive of uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous tumours. Another potential source of regular pelvic pain is endometriosis, a common condition in which the lining of the uterus grows outside the organ.
Figuring out what causes pelvic pain in women involves a process of elimination. Regular appointments with your gynaecologist and check-ups when pelvic pain disrupts your daily life is necessary.
Pelvic Pain during Pregnancy
As many as 80% of pregnant women experience pelvic pain during pregnancy. However, pinpointing the cause can be tough due to a wide range of possibilities.
When to call the Gynaecologist?
Pain that comes on suddenly for the first time is called acute pelvic pain and should be seen by your gynaecologist immediately.
What will the doctor do for pelvic pain?
First, your doctor is going to take your history and ask about the kind of pain you are experiencing, (is it sharp, dull, constant or, intermittent) where the pain is, check if there are any triggers of the pain, (certain foods, constipation, period, sexual intercourse)during what time in your cycle you get pain (it’s normal to have some pain in the middle of menstrual cycle due to ovulation or release of the egg) and find out if you have used any medications or treatments for this pain and whether they were helpful or not.
A doctor will then do a detailed clinical examination including internal examination (if you have had vaginal sexual intercourse in the past). A doctor will also conduct a pelvic ultrasound examination to assess the uterus and ovaries.
The treatment will depend on the findings of the history, examination, previous treatments tried, desires for falling pregnant, your choice of potential treatment options and other factors.