Often uncomfortable, pelvic pain is something that many women come into contact with at some point in their lives. Owing to the complexities of the female reproductive system and the human body at large, there are several explanations for these regular spells of discomfort.
Depending on the source of pelvic pain, this can occur in waves, make itself known in sudden, sharp bursts or be a symptom that many women have come to accept as normal.
Common causes of acute pelvic pain
Acute pain normally describes something that does not regularly occur and something that is a new sensation to an individual. When it comes to acute pelvic pain in women, there could be several underlying causes, and these can take root either in the reproductive system or somewhere else entirely:
- Ovarian cysts – These are small sacs that can develop on either ovary at any time and can cause great pain upon rupturing or increasing in size.
- Appendicitis – When the appendix expands, many people can experience excruciating abdominal and pelvic pain. The appendix may need to be removed as a result.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI) – UTIs can arrive with a collection of painful symptoms and, depending on the source of this infection, can result in substantial pelvic pain and discomfort.
- Acute pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – An infection that can also result in heavy periods and vaginal bleeding, PID can affect the ovaries, the womb and the fallopian tubes and can be transmitted via unprotected sex. It should be noted that a more chronic form of this disease can lead to long-term pelvic pain in women.
Common causes of chronic pelvic pain
Chronic pelvic pain is estimated to be experienced by around 1 in 6 women and these symptoms can worsen during menstruation. Any pain located in this area can be said to be chronic if it has lasted for more than 6 months and can sometimes be a symptom of a previously diagnosed medical condition:
- Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a condition characterised by the emergence of womb-like tissue on other parts of the reproductive system such as the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. In this instance, pelvic pain makes itself known when this tissue thickens, breaks down and bleeds – much like a normal monthly period. As there is no way for the body to expel this tissue and blood, this remains in the stomach and can lead to chronic pain.
- Recurring ovarian cysts and UTIs: Although ovarian cysts and UTIs can resolve naturally or with the help of medical intervention, the recurrence of these things can be a regular source of pelvic pain to many women.
- Fibroids: Small, non-cancerous growths that inhabit the womb or the spaces around this organ, fibroids are not uncommon in women. They will usually only make their presence known if they alter in size or become compromised – this can lead to significant pelvic pain.
An expert opinion
Pelvic pain has a number of explanations and origins and it’s for this reason that the best way to determine its cause is to seek out medical advice from a suitable medical specialist such as a gynaecologist.
Mr Francis Gardner has been practising Advanced Gynaecology for over 25 years and, in this time, has developed a keen understanding of a series of medical conditions pertaining to the reproductive system and a calm and sensitive approach to his work. To take advantage of his person-centred way of working and identify a root cause for your pelvic pain, whether acute or chronic, contact him today to book in for your first consultation or a One Stop Treat and See. Put your mind at ease, with Mr Gardner.
As some women have come to accept pelvic pain as inseparable from menstruation, it can be very easy to try and manage this alone. In these cases, it’s still recommended that you consult the advice of a specialist to try and determine the cause of this pain. This could lead to a more concrete diagnosis and allow you to manage these symptoms more effectively.
Pelvic pain is normally unpleasant and can come in waves. It’s always better to get this checked out to identify the source of this problem and receive the correct form of treatment for this pain.
Pelvic pain can be common in pregnancy but could also be an indication that something is wrong. If you are concerned about this pain and it appears to be getting worse, you will need to consult a medical professional straight away.
This will vary depending on what is deemed to be the course of your pelvic pain. You may be given some pain relief or other medication to help you manage this pain and, in some cases, it may be necessary to remove things such as ovarian cysts and fibroids.