It’s not uncommon for women to experience pelvic pain, especially during the first day or two of their period. But not all pelvic pain is the same. 15% of childbearing age women suffer from chronic pelvic pain, which is pain that lasts longer than six months.
Your pain may develop from any number of causes. Our women’s health experts at McDowell Mountain Gynecology in Scottsdale, Arizona, including Dr. Rachel Spieldoch and Dr. Kimberly Hartzfeld, understand how frustrated many women feel when they can’t get answers to explain their chronic pain.
Given our experience and expertise, we want to share some of the most common causes of pelvic pain.
Pelvic pain in women varies in type and severity. But you shouldn’t dismiss your symptoms if they’re affecting your quality of life.
Common pelvic pain symptoms include:
Though it’s possible to develop pelvic pain from an acute condition, such as gastroenteritis, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our women’s health specialists if your symptoms are severe or chronic.
Your pelvic area is home to many vital organ systems, including your digestive system, urinary system, and reproductive system. Given the complexity of the area, finding the cause of your pelvic pain isn’t always easy.
The five most common gynecological conditions that lead to pelvic pain include:
Endometriosis is a common cause of pelvic pain. Initially, you may only experience severe pain during your period. But over time, your pelvic pain may last beyond your period.
With endometriosis, the lining that grows inside your uterus, called the endometrium, grows outside your uterus. Every month, your uterus grows endometrial tissue in preparation for pregnancy. When you don’t get pregnant, your body sheds the lining through menstruation.
The displaced endometrium acts just like the endometrium that lines your uterus. However, this lining has nowhere to exit the body. So instead, it builds up, which causes pain and discomfort.
Fibroids are noncancerous growths that form in the lining of your uterus. Fibroids are very common and vary in size and number.
Though not every woman with fibroids experiences symptoms, if your fibroids are large or you have several growths, you may experience pelvic pain and pressure. Fibroids may also cause heavier menstrual bleeding and an increase in abdominal girth.
Pelvic inflammatory disease leads to scarring of your pelvic organs from infection, most often from a sexually transmitted disease. Along with pain in your pelvic region, pelvic inflammatory disease may also cause abnormal vaginal discharge, abnormal bleeding, or a fever.
Many women experience menstrual cramps before or during their period. The pain may be localized in your lower abdominal area or travel to your back and down your legs.
Contractions cause the pain in your uterus that help shed the endometrium lining. Though the severity of pain varies, some women may experience severe menstrual cramps that affect their daily life.
Vulvodynia is a chronic pain condition that affects the vulva. It often develops without a known cause and can be difficult to treat.
Irritable bowel syndrome (affects the large intestines) and interstitial cystitis (affects the bladder) are also common causes of pelvic pain.
It’s not uncommon for women to suffer from pelvic pain for years without getting the right diagnosis. We understand your frustration and conduct comprehensive evaluations to identify the cause of your pelvic pain.
During your evaluation, we ask detailed questions about your symptoms and when they occur. We also review your gynecological, medical, and family history and then perform a physical and pelvic exam.
To confirm or rule out a suspected cause of your pelvic pain, we may request various diagnostic tests:
For some conditions, such as endometriosis, we may perform a minimally invasive surgery called a laparoscopy to confirm a diagnosis.
Once we identify your pelvic pain source, we can develop a treatment plan that helps you get relief from your discomfort.
There’s no need to suffer from pelvic pain. Let us help you get the answers and treatment you need. Contact us by phone or online today.