Pelvic Pain

Table of contents



Pelvic pain is defined as pain experienced in the area below your belly button and above your legs. It can occur in both men and women and can be caused by pain in the pelvic bones, infections, and abnormalities in the internal organs in this area – your bowel, bladder, and reproductive organs.

Several types of diseases and conditions can also cause pelvic pain. Chronic pelvic pain can result from more than one condition. Whilst pelvic pain has historically being linked to your digestive, reproductive, or urinary systems, research has also found that chronic pelvic pain can come from muscles and connective tissues in the structure of the pelvic floor.

As there are many organs in the pelvic area, it is important to take notice of pelvic pain and know when to seek medical help.


What causes pelvic pain?

There are many possible causes of pelvic pain for both men and women including:

• Appendicitis
• Bladder issues, such as urinary tract infections
• Kidney infections or kidney stones
• Hernias
• Bowel disorders such as diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome
• Sexually transmitted diseases
• Nerve conditions such as a pinched nerve
• A fracture of the pelvic bones

In women, pelvic pain may be caused by the reproductive system including an issue with
one of the reproductive organs (uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and vagina). Other causes may include:

• Pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, or miscarriage
• Pelvic inflammatory disease
• Ovulation
• Menstrual cramps
• Ovarian cysts
• Fibroids
• Endometriosis
• Cancer (cervix, uterus, or ovaries)

The causes of pelvic pain are wide and varied and that’s why it is important to seek medical advice if you are experiencing abnormal levels of pain in the pelvic area. Whilst these are some of the common causes, only a medical professional will be able to provide you with a full diagnosis.


What are the symptoms of pelvic pain?

Many symptoms are related to pelvic pain, including cramps, vaginal bleeding, spotting, or discharge, painful or difficult urination, constipation or diarrhoea, bloating or gas, blood seen with a bowel movement, pain during intercourse or pain in the hip and/or groin area.

To diagnose the cause of pelvic pain, a doctor will ask questions about your medical history and symptoms. They may also use a range of tests such as blood and urine tests, a stool sample, STD testing, abdominal and pelvic x-rays or ultrasounds and CT scans.


Types of pelvic pain

Pelvic pain varies. It may affect a small area around your pelvis (your lower tummy) or the whole area.

Types of pelvic pain include:

A sharp, stabbing or burning pain that happens suddenly

A pain that comes on slowly but does not go away

A dull or heavy ache, or feeling of pressure

A twisted or knotted feeling

A cramping or throbbing pain, which may come and go

Pain only when you’re doing something, like exercising, having sex, or peeing

Most causes of pelvic pain are not serious, however, because of the organs that are located in the pelvic region, it is important not to self-diagnose and to seek out a medical professional if the pain persists or in the case of a sharp stabbing or burning pain that happens suddenly.


How can pelvic pain be treated?

The treatment of pelvic pain varies depending on the cause and intensity of pain. Common treatments include medicine, surgery if the cause involves one of the pelvic organs, and forms of physical therapy.

You should always seek medical help for pelvic pain if it is sudden or severe, you have a temperature, there is blood in your urine or stools, you are or have recently been pregnant or you are having difficulty standing up.

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