What is pelvic pain?
Although pelvic pain often refers to pain in the region of women’s internal reproductive organs, pelvic pain can be present in either sex and can stem from other causes. Pelvic pain might be a symptom of infection or might arise from pain in the pelvis bone or in non-reproductive internal organs. In women, however, pelvic pain can very well be an indication that there might be a problem with one of the reproductive organs in the pelvic area (uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and vagina).
What are the symptoms related to pelvic pain?
Many symptoms are related to pelvic pain. Some of these symptoms include:
- Menstrual cramps
- Menstrual pain
- Vaginal bleeding, spotting, or discharge
- Painful or difficult urination
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Bloating or gas
- Blood seen with a bowel movement
- Pain during intercourse
- Fever or chills
- Pain in the hip area
- Pain in the groin area
What are the causes of pelvic pain?
Possible causes of pelvic pain in both men and women include:
- Bladder disorders
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Kidney infection or kidney stones
- Intestinal disorders
- Nerve conditions
- Pelvis disorder
- Broken pelvis
- Psychogenic pain
Possible causes of pelvic pain in women only include:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Menstrual cramps
- Ovarian cysts or other ovarian disorders
- Uterine cancer
- Cervical cancer
How is pelvic pain diagnosed?
When diagnosing the cause of pelvic pain, the doctor will review the symptoms and medical history of the patient. A physical exam and/or other tests might also help in diagnosing the cause of pelvic pain. Some diagnostic tools might include:
- Blood and urine tests
- Pregnancy tests in females of reproductive age
- Vaginal or penile cultures to check for sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia
- Abdominal and pelvic X-rays
- Bone density screening (special type of X-ray to determine the strength of bone)
- Diagnostic laparoscopy (procedure allowing a direct look at the structures in the pelvis and abdomen)
- Hysteroscopy (procedure to examine the uterus)
- Stool guaiac test (checking of a stool sample for presence of microscopic blood)
- Lower endoscopy (insertion of a lighted tube to examine the inside of the rectum and part or all of the colon)
- Ultrasound (test that uses sound waves to provide images of internal organs)
- CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis (scan that uses X-rays and computers to produce cross-sectional images of the body)
How is pelvic pain treated?
The treatment of pelvic pain varies by what the cause is, how intense the pain is, and how often the pain occurs. Sometimes pelvic pain is treated with medicines, including antibiotics if necessary. If the pain results from a problem with one of the pelvic organs, the treatment might involve surgery or other procedures. A doctor can provide more information about various treatments for pelvic pain.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 1/19/2005...#12106