Understanding Pelvic Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Management

Pelvic pain is an uncomfortable or achy sensation experienced in the lower belly area, around the pelvis, which includes the hips. This region has various organs such as the bladder, intestines, and reproductive system, making it a complex area to experience pain as there can be several causes for the pain being experienced.

Pelvic pain can vary in intensity from mild to severe and may last for a short or extended period. It can occur suddenly or persist over time.

Both men and women can experience pelvic pain. Other terms frequently used when referring to the pelvic venous disease include pelvic congestion syndrome, Iliac vein compression syndrome, May-Thurner syndrome, gonadal or ovarian vein reflux, pelvic varices, and enlarged pelvic veins.

Causes of Pelvic Pain

Discovering the reasons behind pelvic pain is the first step to a better life! We take a close look at gynecological, urological, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal factors that could be causing discomfort. Our goal is to provide relief and improve your overall well-being.

A. Gynecological Causes

1. Uterine Fibroids: Non-cancerous growths in the uterus, uterine fibroids can lead to pelvic pressure and pain. Common symptoms include heavy menstrual bleeding, cramps, and an enlarged uterus. Hysteroscopy is one of the treatment options for fibroids.

2. Pelvic Venous Congestion Disease: Pelvic venous congestion disease (PVCD) is a condition in which there is an abnormal pooling of blood in the pelvic veins. It can cause chronic pelvic pain, especially in women who have had multiple pregnancies. Treatment options may include pelvic vein embolization or surgical interventions.

3. May-Thurner Syndrome: May-Thurner Syndrome is a condition where the left iliac vein is compressed by the right iliac artery, leading to venous stasis and pelvic pain. It can be associated with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and requires prompt medical evaluation and treatment.

4. Menstrual Disorders: Pelvic pain can be triggered by hormonal imbalances and uterine contractions during menstruation, leading to conditions like dysmenorrhea (painful periods) and menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding). Appropriate treatment can help manage menstrual discomfort effectively.

5. Endometriosis: This condition involves the growth of tissue similar to the uterus lining outside the uterus, causing pelvic pain, especially during menstruation. Hormonal imbalance and chronic inflammation play a role in this condition, which can also lead to fertility issues.

6. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): PID is a reproductive infection causing pelvic pain, fever, and abnormal vaginal discharge. It is often linked to sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea and can lead to chronic pelvic pain and fertility problems if left untreated.

7. Ovarian Cysts: Small fluid-filled sacs on the ovaries, ovarian cysts can cause pelvic pain if they rupture or twist. Different types of cysts exist, including functional, dermoid, endometriomas, and cystadenomas. Early detection is essential for reproductive health and to rule out ovarian cancer.

B. Urological Causes

1. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): UTIs are caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract, leading to pelvic discomfort, frequent urination, and a burning sensation while urinating. Treatment involves antibiotics and staying hydrated. Prompt medical attention is essential, and a urine culture helps with diagnosis.

2. Interstitial Cystitis (Bladder Pain Syndrome): This chronic condition causes bladder pain, pelvic pressure, and painful urination. Other symptoms include frequent urination, lower abdominal pain, and bladder inflammation. Diagnosis involves cystoscopy and hydrodistension.

C. Gastrointestinal Causes

1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): A functional gastrointestinal disorder causing abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, and pelvic pain. Symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, cramping, and urgency to defecate. Managing IBS involves dietary changes, stress management, and identifying triggers for gut health.

2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, IBD causes digestive tract inflammation and pelvic discomfort. Symptoms include chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, and weight loss. Treatment may involve biologic medications and managing inflammatory flare-ups.

3. Appendicitis: Inflammation of the appendix causes severe pelvic and abdominal pain. It requires immediate medical attention and is treated with an appendectomy. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, and loss of appetite. Prompt treatment is essential to prevent complications.


D. Musculoskeletal Causes

1. Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: Weak or tight pelvic floor muscles can cause pelvic pain, urinary problems, and discomfort during intercourse. Treatment includes physical therapy, Kegel exercises, and relaxation techniques.

2. Muscle Strains and Sprains: Pelvic region muscle strains and sprains cause localized pain. Rest, ice, compression, physical therapy, and stretching exercises aid in recovery, followed by a gradual return to activity.

3. Sciatica: Compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve leads to lower back and pelvic pain, as well as radiating pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the legs. Treatments include physical therapy, stretching exercises, and anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief.


Symptoms of Pelvic Pain

Recognizing the symptoms of pelvic pain is essential for identifying potential underlying causes and seeking appropriate medical evaluation and treatment. Pelvic pain can manifest in various ways:

  • Dull, aching pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic region.
  • Cramping sensations, especially during menstruation.
  • Pain that worsens during bowel movements or urination.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Frequent need to urinate.
  • Bloating or a feeling of fullness in the pelvic area.
  • Pain that radiates to the lower back or thighs.
  • Severe and sudden pelvic pain.
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding.
  • Fainting or lightheadedness.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Persistent and severe pain despite rest and home remedies.

It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional. The goal is to reduce discomfort, improve quality of life, and address underlying medical conditions. You can learn more about Minimally Invasive Procedure Specialists.

Managing and Prevention of Pelvic Pain

Managing and preventing pelvic pain involves a detailed and diverse plan to help individuals experiencing this problem feel better. This process helps them accurately identify what’s behind the pain.

Preventive Measures

  • Practicing Safe Sex: Reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can help prevent pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Maintaining Good Hygiene: Proper hygiene practices in the genital and anal areas can reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.
  • Staying Hydrated: Drinking an adequate amount of water can help prevent constipation, reducing the risk of pelvic pain associated with straining during bowel movements.

Regular Health Check-ups

Regular health check-ups and pelvic examinations can help identify potential issues early on. Experiencing pelvic pain and related symptoms?

For more information on pelvic health and pelvic pain treatment, and what care looks likes at our practice reference the links below:

Reach out to MIPS Center for relief and management. Schedule an appointment at our Highlands Ranch, CO office for expert consultation on pelvic pain treatment options. Call (303) 805-7477 now