Pelvic pain can occur anywhere below a woman's belly button and between her hips. It may include her abdomen, genitals, lower back, or organs around her genitals.
Pelvic pain can be more than just uncomfortable. It might interfere with your intimate relationships and quality of life. For some, the pain is mild and sporadic. For others, it's long-term and constant.
If you experience pelvic pain for more than six months, it's considered chronic pelvic pain. Chronic pelvic pain is a common condition affecting about 15% of women of childbearing age in the United States. Worldwide, it affects up to one third of all women.
Symptoms of pelvic pain
While symptoms, intensity, and duration of pelvic pain vary from woman to woman, common symptoms include:
- Dull, aching pain in your pelvic region
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Sharp pains and cramping
- Pressure in your pelvic area
- Pain with a bowel movement
- Pain or pressure when lifting a heavy object
- Pain when sitting for long periods
Common causes of pelvic pain
Pelvic pain can be a complex condition to diagnose. There may be several issues contributing to your pain. In some cases, pain is physiological. Common causes of pelvic pain include:
If you have endometriosis, the lining that grows inside your uterus during menstruation grows outside it instead. This lining that is outside your uterus then tries to shed itself (just like it would inside your uterus) when you don't become pregnant each month. However, this lining has nowhere to exit the body. So instead, it builds up, which causes pain and discomfort.
Fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop in your uterus. These growths can lead to a feeling of heaviness and pressure in your pelvic area.
Irritable bowel syndrome
This syndrome can cause bloating, pain, and gastrointestinal issues. This can lead to pelvic pain, discomfort, and pressure.
Interstitial cystitis, also called painful bladder syndrome, is marked by frequent urination or the need to urinate frequently, and pain. The pain is often relieved after emptying your bladder.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
This condition is often the result of scarring caused by a long-term infection. Often the cause of the infection is a sexually transmitted disease.
This chronic pelvic pain condition does not have a clear cause. Vulvodynia is pain, soreness, itching, or stinging of the vulva (the outer area of the vagina).
If you're experiencing pelvic pain that interferes with your life, call the office of board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich in Boise, Idaho for an appointment.