Pelvic Pain Is Anything But Normal

“Push through the pain” may work in the world of sports and fitness, but it isn’t a good approach to take with your general health. Yet that’s what many women do when it comes to pelvic pain.  

Women are so accustomed to regular bouts of pain like menstrual cramps that they routinely live with, or push through, pelvic pain, thinking it’s a normal part of their lives. But pelvic pain is anything but normal. Even menstrual pain isn’t always normal; it may be caused by a gynecological problem. 

At Gynecologic Surgery and Menopause Solutions we talk to many women who tell us they aren’t sure when they should schedule an exam for pelvic pain. So let’s talk about the different types of pelvic pain and when you should come in and let us help you get some relief from the pain.

All pelvic pain is not the same

Sometimes pelvic pain isn’t experienced as pain. Instead, you may feel pressure or a sense of heaviness in your lower abdomen. The quality of pelvic pain can range from dull to sharp, and it may appear suddenly or develop so slowly you’re barely aware it’s there.

You may only have pelvic pain during intercourse or when you move a certain way. Pain when you urinate or have a bowel movement is also considered pelvic pain.

All these different types of pain are red flags. Pelvic pain is a warning that something isn’t right, and you need to take action to prevent further problems.

Common gynecological causes of pelvic pain

Your pelvic pain may originate from a problem outside your reproductive tract, but with our thorough screening and on-site diagnostic ultrasound, we can identify the full range of conditions that may be the source of your pain.

These are a few of the top gynecological conditions responsible for pelvic pain:  

Endometriosis

Pelvic pain is the primary symptom of endometriosis. This pain develops when patches of endometrial tissue grow on the outer walls of your ovaries, uterus, Fallopian tubes, and other structures in your pelvic region.

The endometrium, which lines the inside of your uterus, responds to hormones throughout your monthly cycle. It thickens to prepare for a fertilized egg, then sheds during menstruation if you don’t become pregnant that month.

Sometimes, these endometrial tissues escape from your uterus and attach to structures outside the uterus, causing patches of endometriosis that continue to respond to hormones and bleed every month.

As patches of endometriosis bleed, the surrounding tissues become irritated and inflamed, leading to scarring and pelvic pain. Endometriosis often causes menstrual pain and pain during intercourse.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

PID is a bacterial infection that’s most often caused by two sexually transmitted infections: chlamydia and gonorrhea. You can also develop PID when bacteria migrate from your vagina into the uterus and Fallopian tubes or from bacterial infections that aren’t sexually transmitted, such as bacterial vaginosis.

The pelvic pain caused by PID is often a mild, ongoing ache. You may also have pain during intercourse, upper abdominal pain, and painful urination. PID typically causes a vaginal discharge or abnormal menstrual periods.

Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that may stay small and be symptom-free, or they may grow large enough to cause pelvic pain or pressure. Like endometriosis, uterine fibroids may cause pain during menstruation. They’re also associated with abdominal cramps. Many women with fibroids have heavy, long, or frequent menstrual periods.

Ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts are common and often don’t cause problems. However, when a cyst gets large enough to cause symptoms, you’ll experience nagging pelvic pain or pressure and sometimes a sharp pain.

When to schedule an exam

If you’re still unsure about the nature of your pelvic pain and whether or not you need to schedule an appointment, give us a call. We’ll triage your symptoms and help you decide.

You should immediately schedule a gynecological exam when:

Even mild pelvic pain needs attention if it doesn’t go away. It could represent the start of a problem that will get worse if it isn’t treated.

It’s never a good idea to push through pelvic pain. To put your mind at ease and get treatment that relieves your pain, call Gynecologic Surgery and Menopause Solutions, or schedule an appointment online.

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