When you think of pelvic pain, you may quickly associate the problem with a woman’s reproductive organs. However, pelvic pain can happen in all sexes and stem from different causes, including infections and abnormalities in internal organs. But in women, pelvic pain might be a clear indication of a problem with one of the reproductive organs in the pelvic area. When diagnosing the cause of your pelvic pain, Leela K Patel M.D. reviews your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor can also perform a physical exam and other tests to establish the cause of your pain. Below are some of the causes of pelvic pain.
Sexually transmitted infection
Pelvic pain may be a warning sign of some sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea and chlamydia. Most often, you get both of these diseases simultaneously. Gonorrhea and chlamydia don’t always cause symptoms, but when they do, you may experience pain when you pee abnormal vaginal discharge or bleeding between your periods. See your doctor if you experience such symptoms, and get your partner checked to avoid passing the infection back and forth.
Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix, which causes sharp pain in the lower right part of your belly. Most of the time, the pain begins around the navel and moves. As the inflammation worsens, the pain becomes severe and may come along with other symptoms, such as fever and vomiting.
During ovulation, the ovary releases an egg along with some blood and fluid; this can irritate that might be felt as a painful spasm. This pain is called mittelschmerz – a German word for middle and pain because ovulation usually happens midway through your monthly cycle. You may notice that the pain switches sides month to month. Painful ovulation is not harmful and usually goes away within a few hours.
PMS and menstrual cramps
You may experience cramping in your lower belly or back a few days before or into your periods. Every month, the uterus lining thickens so an embryo can implant and grow. If pregnancy does not occur, the uterine lining breaks down and sheds during your period. The uterus contracts or tightens to push the tissues, causing you to cramp. Over-the-counter pain relievers and a heating pad can help alleviate the pain associated with menstrual periods. If you experience severe pain, you may discuss using antidepressants or certain birth control pills with your doctor.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
The pelvic inflammatory disease occurs when bacteria from sexually transmitted infections spread from your vagina to female reproductive organs, including the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Some women with the pelvic inflammatory disease do not experience signs and symptoms until they have trouble getting pregnant or develop chronic pelvic pain. The signs and symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease can be subtle and difficult to recognize. Sometimes signs and symptoms are absent, and when present, they most often include pain in the lower abdomen and pelvis; the pain ranges from mild to severe. Other symptoms include pain during sex, fever, unusual vaginal discharge with a foul smell, and pain when peeing.
If you have pelvic pain, schedule an appointment with your doctor at Patel & Patel, M.D., Inc. for treatment.