Have you been experiencing sharp or nagging pelvic pain to the point where you’re starting to wonder what’s going on? Pelvic pain, occurring in the lower abdomen below the belly button, presents in many different ways and can be sharp, dull, aching, sudden, or recurrent.
This pain can have many different causes, some of which are far more serious than others. If you have any concerns about pelvic pain, it’s important to see your healthcare provider.
Here are some of the most common reasons for female pelvic pain:
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that’s similar to the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. It’s most common in women who are in their thirties and forties, and may affect more than 10 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. This condition can be very uncomfortable and contribute to chronic pelvic pain.
Menstrual cramps are a common cause of pelvic pain, especially in the few days leading up to or during your menstrual period. While these cramps are fairly common, it’s a good idea to speak with your physician if they’re extremely painful or interfering with your quality of life.
Many women experience temporary pelvic pain when they ovulate each month. This happens during the middle of your menstrual cycle and the pain is usually localized to one side of your pelvis. The pain may last anywhere between a few minutes and a few hours, but doesn’t require treatment.
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms on the ovary. Many ovarian cysts don’t cause any pain, but if the cyst becomes twisted or bursts, this condition can lead to a great deal of pelvic pain. If you experience sudden or severe pelvic pain, it’s important to see your doctor.
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that form on the wall of the uterus. Like ovarian cysts, these are typically not painful, but can cause pelvic pain if they twist or are disrupted.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (also commonly referred to as IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal condition that affects the large intestine. Researchers aren’t entirely sure what causes IBS, but its symptoms can be triggered by stress, food, and hormones, and the condition often leads to pelvic and abdominal pain.
If your bowel movements become less regular and you have trouble passing stools, you may be suffering from constipation, which is another common cause of pelvic pain. Constipation frequently arises due to dietary changes, medication, irritable bowel syndrome, and more. If you’re experiencing any pain with your bowel movements, it’s important to see a doctor.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Some sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, can contribute to pelvic pain. Additionally, some sexually transmitted infections that are left untreated can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which is another cause of pelvic pain.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a condition involving infection of the female reproductive organs (ovaries, cervix, fallopian tubes, and uterus). It often arises due to untreated sexually transmitted infections, but you can also get it for other reasons, such as having sex with more than one partner, or having sex with a partner who has other sex partners besides you. This condition is one of the leading causes of preventable infertility.
An ectopic pregnancy is a serious medical condition where a fertilized egg attaches to the cervix, abdominal cavity, or fallopian tube rather than the uterus. Women who are experiencing an ectopic pregnancy may experience nausea, pelvic and abdominal pain, dizziness, rectal pressure, and other symptoms. This condition can be very dangerous to your health, so It’s important to see a doctor right away if you think you may have an ectopic pregnancy.
If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.