Pelvic pain in women is often related to conditions affecting the female reproductive system. Let us discuss in detail what it is, its common causes and its diagnosis.
Pelvic pain can affect both men and women and can be caused by any of the structures in the abdominal cavity. In females, pelvic pain often signifies problems related to their reproductive system such as endometriosis or ectopic pregnancy. However, in both women and men, this pain can also be associated with the kidneys, the bladder, or the gastrointestinal tract.
In this article, we will be discussing pelvic pain in women and some of its common causes related to the reproductive system.
What is the pelvis?
The pelvis is the lower part of the torso, between the abdomen and the thighs. The pelvis includes many organs and if you have pelvic pain, it usually means that pain is coming from one of these organs. In some cases, the pain originates from the pelvic bones that lie next to these organs, or from nearby muscles, nerves, blood vessels or joints. So, there can be many causes of pelvic pain.
Pelvic pain is more common in women than in men. Now, let’s walk you through some common causes of pelvic pain in women.
There can be many causes of both acute and chronic pelvic pain. Acute pain happens quickly and goes away when there is no cause, chronic pain, on the other hand, is persistent and lasts longer than six months.
Here are five common causes of pelvic pain in women:
1. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs. It is typically caused by an untreated sexually transmitted infection. Women often experience no symptoms when they are first infected with PID. However, if left untreated, PID can cause severe complications including chronic pain in the pelvis or abdomen.
Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue similar to the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside the uterus. This can cause pelvic pain and an irregular menstrual cycle.
3. Cramping pain
Menstrual cramping is one of the most common causes of pelvic pain in women. It typically occurs right before a person starts their period, as the uterus contracts and sheds its lining. Most people who menstruate will experience some pain for at least 1 or 2 days each cycle.
4. Ectopic pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancy is a condition where a fertilised egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus. Some symptoms of the condition include sharp pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding, nausea, and dizziness. If untreated, it may lead to life-threatening bleeding.
5. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Pelvic pain can be a warning sign of some STDs. Two of the most common STDs in females include chlamydia and gonorrhoea. These do not always cause symptoms but when they do, you may experience painful urination, bleeding between periods and pelvic pain.
When to see a doctor
It is always a good idea to see your healthcare provider if you are experiencing pelvic pain, especially if it is occurring regularly.
In general, women should seek medical care if they:
- suspect that an infection is causing the pain
- experience unexpected vaginal bleeding
- experience sudden and severe pain that disrupts their daily life, or gets worse over time.
Treatment for pelvic pain will depend on the cause. Getting an accurate diagnosis on time will help avoid potentially serious complications and ensure better treatment. Your doctor may also prescribe medications or other therapies to provide immediate relief.