Two  women in their late forties talking

​Pelvic pain

Pelvic pain is a general term that describes pain that occurs in lower abdomen, lower back, buttocks and genital area. The pain can be sharp or dull, be steady or come and go.

If pelvic pain lasts for more than six months and interferes with a woman normal activities and lifestyle, it's consider chronic. It's one of the most common women's health concerns and one you may experience during any phase of life.

At The Christ Hospital Health Network, we understand how this type of severe pain can interfere with your daily living and we're here to help you get your quality of life back.

Pelvic pain causes

Possible causes of pelvic pain are infection, inflammation or existing conditions such as endometriosis. Often, pelvic pain indicates a problem in the uterus, vagina, intestine or bladder.

Health problems your doctor will consider as a possible cause include:

  • Adhesions—formation of scar tissue between organs

  • Endometriosis—tissue looking and acting like endometrial tissue that grows outside the uterus

  • Interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome)—a chronic condition causing bladder pressure, bladder pain and sometimes pelvic pain

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)—a common disorder of the large intestine causing cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation

  • Pelvic floor disorders—occur when connective tissue in the pelvic area is weakened; the most common disorders are bowel incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence.

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)—infection of the reproductive track

  • Uterine fibroids—growths that form on the wall or muscle of the uterus or elsewhere in the abdomen

  • Vulvodynia—chronic pain of the vulva

Pelvic pain risk factors

Risk factors for pelvic pain increase if you:

  • Experienced a difficult pregnancy or childbirth

  • Have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease

  • Have a history of physical or sexual abuse

  • Have had abdominal surgery or radiation

  • Experience infertility issues

Pelvic pain symptoms

Pain and other symptoms vary from woman to woman. Most will cope with their symptoms, despite the impact on their quality of life. For others, pain can interfere with normal activities, like going to work, exercising or having sexual intercourse.

Pelvic pain symptoms may include:

  • Pain or severe cramps during menstruation

  • Pain during sex

  • Pain that ranges from dull to sharp

  • Pain that ranges from mild to severe

  • Pain during urination or a bowel movement

When to see a doctor

It can be difficult to know when you should see a doctor for chronic pelvic pain. In general, if pelvic pain interrupts your daily life or your symptoms seem to be worsening, make an appointment with your doctor.

If you think you have chronic pelvic pain, discuss your concerns with your gynecologist or make an appointment with one of our women’s health experts.

Want to discuss your pelvic pain but not ready to make an appointment with a doctor yet? Contact our ezCare Concierge nurse navigator, a free, confidential service designed to help you navigate the best next steps for you and your health. 

Decade by Decade