What Causes Pelvic Pain?

Pain in the lower abdomen may be excruciating, debilitating, and even scary. There are many, many potential causes of this sort of pain, ranging from a harmless muscle pull to life threatening. If you experience pain that concerns you, it is best to err on the side of caution and seek medical attention. Some of the more common causes of pain in the pelvic region that may affect people of either gender include:

  • Appendicitis – The appendix is a small piece of tissue protruding from the large intestine. If bacteria gathers in the appendix, a serious infection may result. This infection may cause the appendix to inflame and may even lead to the infection leaking into surrounding areas, which may be life-threatening. Patients diagnosed with appendicitis usually receive an emergency surgery to remove the infected organ. Appendicitis typically causes extreme, unbearable pain in the lower right portion of the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, inability to pass gas, and fever. Approximately half of appendicitis cases include painful urination and pain in the back or rectum in addition to the abdominal pain.

  • Bladder or Urinary Tract Infection – These infections are more common in women, but men may be affected. These infections are usually not serious if treated with antibiotics early, but if treatment is delayed, the infection can spread to the kidneys. These infections may cause a frequent urge to urinate, a painful or burning sensation while urinating, foul-smelling and/or cloudy urine, confusion or lethargy in elderly patients, and fever or chills in more serious cases.

  • Sexually Transmitted Infections – There is a wide range of sexually transmitted infections. Since these infections typically first affect the penis or vagina, discomfort is often felt in the pelvic region first, with many patients, particularly males, experiencing a painful or burning sensation while urinating. If you begin to experience pelvic pain within weeks of having unprotected sexual contact, see your doctor.

  • Kidney Stones – Salt or minerals may collect in the kidneys, creating “stones.” As these stones pass through the urinary tract, they may cause extreme pain, most often strongest while urinating. These stones often pass on their own, but in serious cases may need medical assistance to be broken down and passed more easily.

  • Pelvic Fracture – Each side of the pelvis is constructed of three bones. These bones protect a number of organs as well as help humans maintain their upright posture and walk on two legs. Unfortunately, this important structure is not impervious to damage. Traumatic accidents, such as auto accidents or sports injuries, may lead to a fracture in these bones. Such fractures may cause severe pain, which may increase when one or both legs are moved into certain positions. As with most fractures, a pelvis fracture requires medical attention. Such fractures may even require surgery to fully heal.


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