The female pelvic area is highly different from those of males, since it is broader and wider. This is because women need the extra space to support a baby’s development and subsequent expulsion.
Additionally, the female pelvic area is bigger since it houses several organs, including the uterus, ovaries, cervix, fallopian tubes, vagina, and bladder.
With the different organs and functions of the pelvis in women, determining the exact cause of any pain in this area can be challenging.
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Chronic Pelvic Pain in Women
Specialists in minimally invasive gynaecologic surgery say that chronic or persistent pelvic pain is a pain in the area below the belly button and between the hips that lasts six months or more.
Chronic pelvic pain can be a condition on its own or have multiple causes, including as a symptom of another disease.
Because of this reason, getting the right diagnosis for this health problem can be quite tricky.
Usual Causes of Recurring Pelvic Pain in Women
The most common causes of chronic pelvic pain in women are:
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue from the lining of your uterus or womb grows outside it.
These deposits of tissue act the way they should if they are within the uterus, which means they thicken, break down, shed, and cause bleeding every month when your hormone levels rise and fall.
However, because these activities are taking place outside your uterus, the deposits of tissue and blood can’t exit your body through your vagina. As a result, they remain in your abdomen, which can cause the development of painful cysts and adhesions or fibrous bands of scar tissue.
Endometriosis causes different levels of pain ranging from mild to severe and debilitating.
This pain, which is often concentrated within the pelvic region, usually becomes more pronounced during your period. Also, it can sometimes occur during intercourse and bowel and bladder movements.
Other symptoms of endometriosis include bloating, heavy bleeding during your period, and nausea.
When not treated, endometriosis can lead to infertility.
Treatments for endometriosis include surgical procedures, minimally invasive surgery, and in vitro fertilization.
2. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
PID is an infection that occurs in the womb. This condition starts when bacteria get into the vagina and travel to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and other reproductive organs.
PID is often caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as gonorrhoea or chlamydia.
Pain caused by PID, which is usually tender or achy, is commonly felt in the lower abdomen.
Aside from pain, other symptoms of PID include abnormal vaginal discharge and bleeding, fever, painful urination, and a frequent need to urinate.
Treatment of PID involves taking antibiotics to treat the infection.
3. Interstitial Cystitis
Also called ‘painful bladder syndrome,’ interstitial cystitis is a chronic medical condition that causes bladder pressure, bladder pain, and in many cases, pelvic pain.
The pain caused by interstitial cystitis ranges from mild discomfort to severe pain, which you may feel in your lower abdomen and pelvis.
The most common symptoms of interstitial cystitis are a recurring pain in the bladder and frequent need to urinate. When your bladder fills, you may experience pelvic pain, which might improve temporarily after you urinate.
Unfortunately, there is presently no cure for interstitial cystitis. However, lifestyle changes, medications, and other types of therapy can provide relief.
4. Uterine Fibroids
Fibroids are noncancerous lumps of muscle and fibrous tissue that grow within the uterus.
However, even if fibroids are noncancerous and do not come with many symptoms, these tissues can sometimes be a source of pain since they cause discomfort in the pelvis or lower back.
Additionally, fibroids can also cause excessive bleeding or cramping during your period.
Most of the time, fibroids do not require treatment. But if you find the pain and other symptoms unbearable, your doctor may recommend surgery, a non-invasive procedure, or medication.
5. Urinary Tract Stones
Urinary tract stones or crystals form in a kidney and enlarge and get lodged in a ureter or the bladder.
These stones consist of salts and minerals, such as phosphate and calcium, substances that the body usually have difficulty expelling through urination.
When these minerals become larger crystals in the bladder or kidneys, they can cause pain in the pelvis or lower back.
Another symptom associated with urinary tract stones is having pink or reddish urine due to the addition of blood.
Sometimes, patients can pass stones with only medication. However, passing them can be painful. If the crystals are too large, surgery may be recommended.
6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
According to Health Canal, IBS is a gut condition that causes pain and intestinal symptoms, such as constipation, diarrhoea, and bloating.
These symptoms can be a source of pelvic pain and pressure.
These symptoms tend to flare up occasionally and go away over time, usually after a bowel movement.
Musculoskeletal conditions, such as fibromyalgia, pubic symphysis (inflammation of the pubic joint), pelvic floor muscle tension, and hernia, can lead to recurring pelvic pain.
A hernia appears when an organ or tissue pushes through a weak spot in your abdominal, chest, or thigh muscles. This creates a painful or sore bulge that you can push back in or disappear when you lie down.
The pain gets worse when you cough, laugh, lift something, or bend over.
Other symptoms include a heavy feeling in the area of the bulge and weakness or pressure in the hernia area.
A hernia does not go away on its own. A surgical procedure or minimally invasive surgery is often needed.
8. Ovarian Remnant Syndrome
Lastly, if you had your ovaries removed surgically, your chronic pelvic pain may be caused by ovarian remnant syndrome.
Ovarian remnant syndrome is a rare disorder where small pieces of ovarian tissue are left in the pelvic cavity after the surgical removal of one or both ovaries.
The ovarian tissues can grow and form cysts or haemorrhages in the bladder and ureters, which will cause pain in your pelvic area.
Constant or cyclic pelvic pain is the most common symptom of ovarian remnant syndrome. Other signs include pelvic mass and painful urination and bowel movements.
When you have been experiencing pelvic pain for months, consult your gynaecologist or general practitioner immediately. With proper diagnosis, you can be free of the discomfort you are feeling and start enjoying a better quality of life.
Also Read: Complete Health Care Of Your Newborn