Pelvic pain is pain that occurs in the lower abdomen and pelvis.
The pelvic region is the area between the umbilicus (belly button) and the groin in the front and between the buttocks at the back. Pelvic area mainly consists of reproductive, urinary and digestive systems such as uterus, bladder and intestines.
Pelvic pain can be acute or chronic. Acute pelvic pain occurs suddenly and stays only for a short period of time. Chronic pelvic pain lasts for more than six months and does not show any improvement with treatment.
Symptoms of Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain may be dull or sharp; persistent or intermittent; mild to severe, and can extend to your lower back or thighs.
The common symptoms with pelvic pain are:
Pain in the hip and groin area
Pain and cramps during menstruation
Pain during urination, bowel movements, and intercourse
Fever or chills
Constipation or diarrhea
Causes of Pelvic Pain
Usually, pelvic pain is considered as an indication for infection or problem in the pelvic area. It is observed most commonly in women but can also occur in men.
The common causes of acute pelvic pain are:
Pelvic inflammatory disease (infection of the reproductive organs),
Urinary tract infection
Appendicitis (inflammation of appendix)
Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus)
Twisted or ruptured ovarian cyst
Ruptured fallopian tube
Miscarriage or threatened miscarriage
Congestion or abscess (collection of pus) in the pelvic region
The common causes of chronic pelvic pain are:
Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease
Endometriosis (abnormal growth of uterus lining)
Interstitial cystitis (inflammation of urinary bladder)
Irritable bowel syndrome
Pelvic floor disorders (spasm or tension in the pelvic floor muscles)
Uterine fibroids (non-cancerous uterine growths)
Psychological factors such as stress, depression or a history of physical abuse
Diagnosis of Pelvic Pain
Your physician diagnoses pelvic pain by observing your pain symptoms, medical history, and by performing a pelvic examination.
For additional information, your physician may request
urine and culture test, pregnancy test, and
The imaging studies such as X-ray, ultrasound, laparoscopy, CT (Contrast tomography) and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan are helpful in examining the pain source in the pelvic region.
Treatment of Pelvic Pain
Treatment for pelvic pain depends on the cause of pain, intensity and frequency of the pain.
Conservative management of pelvic pain includes
participating in regular physical therapy and
Medication can be used to relieve
pain (pain killers),
muscle spasm/ contraction (muscle relaxants) and
to treat infection (antibiotics).
Dr Alexander may also instruct you to take hormonal medications for pain relief during ovulation and menstruation.
Surgery is considered for patients with chronic pelvic pain due to
pelvic floor disorder, and
other chronic pelvic problems.
Laparoscopic surgery (removal of endometrial tissue or pelvic adhesion) and hysterectomy (removal of uterus) are the common surgical options for treating pelvic pain.