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Pelvic pain

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Pelvic pain



 Introduction  

Pelvic pain is felt below your bellybutton. It may come on suddenly and severely, or could be mild and last for months.

See your GP as soon as possible if you are experiencing pelvic pain. If necessary, you may be referred to a gynaecologist. In some cases, the cause cannot be identified.

The following information is about pelvic pain in women, as men are rarely affected. It covers the possible causes of:


sudden, unexpected (acute) pelvic pain 

persistent or recurrent (chronic) pelvic pain


The information on this page aims to give you a better idea of the cause of your pelvic pain, but do not use it to self-diagnose your condition. Always see your GP for a proper diagnosis.

 Sudden, unexpected pelvic pain 

Pelvic pain that comes on suddenly for the first time is called acute pelvic pain. If you have acute pelvic pain, see your GP immediately to the cause and to get any necessary treatment.

 Common causes of acute pelvic pain 

The most common causes of acute pelvic pain in women who are not pregnant are:


an ovarian cyst– a fluid-filled sac that develops on an ovary and causes pelvic pain when it becomes twisted or bursts (it will probably need to be removed)

acute pelvic inflammatory disease – a bacterial infection of the womb, fallopian tubes or ovaries, which often follows a chlamydiaor gonorrhoea infection and needs immediate treatment with antibiotics

appendicitis – a painful swelling of the appendix, a finger-like pouch connected to the large intestine, which usually leads to pain on the lower right-hand side of your abdomen (tummy)

a urinary tract infection – you'll probably also have pain or a burning sensation when you urinate and you may need to urinate more often

constipation or bowel spasm – this may be brought on by changes in diet, medication or, in rare cases, an obstruction of the bowel


The above links will give you more information on these conditions.

 Less common reasons for acute pelvic pain 

Less common causes of acute pelvic pain include:


a pelvic abscess – a collection of pus between the womb and vagina that needs urgent treatment in hospital 

endometriosis – a long-term condition where small pieces of womb lining are found outside the womb (such as on the ovaries), leading to painful periods


 Persistent or recurrent pelvic pain 

If you've had pelvic pain for six months or more that either comes and goes or is continuous, it is known as chronic pelvic pain. Chronic pelvic pain is more intense than ordinary period pain and lasts for longer. It affects around one in six women.

If you have chronic pelvic pain, see your GP to find out the cause and to get any necessary treatment.

 Common causes of chronic pelvic pain 

The most common causes of chronic pelvic pain are:


endometriosis – a long-term condition where small pieces of womb lining are found outside the womb (such as on the ovaries)

chronic pelvic inflammatory disease – a bacterial infection of the womb, fallopian tubes or ovaries, which often follows a chlamydia or gonorrhoea infection and needs immediate treatment with antibiotics

irritable bowel syndrome – a common condition of the digestive system that can cause stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation


The above links will give you more information on these conditions.

 Less common reasons for chronic pelvic pain 

Less common causes of chronic pelvic pain include:


recurrent ovarian cysts – fluid or blood-filled sacs that develop on the ovaries   

a recurrent urinary tract infection

lower back pain

prolapse of the womb – the womb slips down from its normal position and usually causes a "dragging" pain

adenomyosis – endometriosis that affects the muscle of the womb, causing painful, heavy periods

fibroids – non-cancerous tumours that grow in or around the womb

chronic interstitial cystitis – long-term inflammation of the bladder

inflammatory bowel disease – a term used to describe two chronic diseases, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, which affect the gut

a hernia – where an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the surrounding muscle or tissue wall

trapped or damaged nerves in the pelvic area – these may cause sharp, stabbing or aching pain in a specific area, which often gets worse with certain movements


 



 Pregnancy 

This information doesn't focus on pelvic or abdominal pain during pregnancy.


pelvic joint pain in pregnancy

ectopic pregnancy

miscarriage


 

  

Pelvic pain in pregnancy 

 

How to cope with pelvic pain in pregnancy, and tips on managing the condition

 

 


Pelvic pain