What Causes Pelvic Pain?

“Pelvic pain” is a broad term, with many potential causes. The pelvic area encompasses the bladder, bowels, and reproductive organs, any of which may cause pain in the lower abdomen. Some of the more common causes of pelvic pain include:

  • Appendicitis – An infection of a small protrusion of the colon, appendicitis generally requires emergency surgery.

  • Colon Cancer – Cancer in the lower portion of the large intestine is often treatable with a high success rate if discovered early.

  • Crohn’s Disease – A chronic inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s Disease has no cure at this time but some forms of treatment may alleviate symptoms or even lead to remission.

  • Diverticulitis – Small pouches developing and becoming infected in the large intestine may cause severe pain.

  • Inguinal Hernia – Tissue, such as a part of the intestine, may poke through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles, resulting in a painful bulge.

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome – IBS is a chronic condition that causes discomfort, but usually does not have serious complications.

  • Ulcerative Colitis – This inflammatory disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers has no cure, but treatment may alleviate symptoms and even lead to remission.

  • Urinary Tract Infection – This type of infection that may affect any part of the urinary tract, including the urethra, bladder, ureters, or kidneys, is usually treated with antibiotics.

Reproductive organs are housed in the pelvic area, meaning potential causes of pelvic pain may be specific to gender. Since women have more reproductive organs located in the pelvic region, they have more potential causes of pelvic pain, including:

  • Ectopic Pregnancy – An egg cell that becomes fertilized and implants in the fallopian tube presents serious risk to the patient.

  • Miscarriage – A fetus that does not grow to full term may cause physical and emotional pain for a woman whose pregnancy ends.

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease – An infection of the female reproductive organs, PID may cause serious complications, up to and including infertility.

  • Ovulation – The routine release of an egg cell from an ovary may cause discomfort.

  • Menstrual Cramps – Routine menstruation may be accompanied by cramping in the pelvic region, ranging from mild to severe.

  • Ovarian Cysts – Fluid-filled sacs developing on or in the ovaries is a common condition.

  • Fibroids – Benign lumps growing on the uterus may cause heavy periods, cramping, pain during sex, and frequent need to urinate.

  • Endometriosis – The growth of uterine lining outside of the uterus may cause severe pain, heavy periods, and complications that may include infertility.

If you are experiencing pelvic pain, regardless of gender, see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and to determine the best course of treatment.


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