Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain can happen in all sexes and might stem from infections, abnormalities in internal organs or pain from your pelvic bones. Treatment depends on the cause.


What is pelvic pain?

Although pelvic pain often refers to pain in the region of women’s (and people assigned female at birth’s, AFAB) reproductive organs, it can be present in all sexes and can stem from other causes. Pelvic pain might be a symptom of infection or arise from pain in your pelvic bone or nonreproductive internal organs. But in women and people AFAB, pelvic pain can very well be an indication that there might be a problem with one of the reproductive organs in their pelvic area (uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix and vagina).


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Possible Causes

What causes pelvic pain?

There are many reasons why you may develop pelvic pain, including:

Possible pelvic pain causes in women and AFAB include:

What are the symptoms related to pelvic pain?

Pelvic pain may be accompanied by other symptoms or warning signs. Some of the most common pelvic pain symptoms include:


Care and Treatment

How is pelvic pain diagnosed?

When diagnosing the cause of pelvic pain, a healthcare provider will review your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam or other tests might also help in determining the cause of pelvic pain. Some diagnostic tools might include:

  • Blood and urine tests.
  • Pregnancy tests in people of reproductive age.
  • Vaginal or penile cultures to check for sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.
  • Abdominal and pelvic X-rays.
  • Laparoscopy (a procedure allowing a direct look at the structures in your pelvis and abdomen).
  • Hysteroscopy (a procedure to examine your uterus).
  • Stool sample to check for signs of blood in your poop.
  • Lower endoscopy (insertion of a lighted tube to examine the inside of your rectum and colon).
  • Ultrasound (a test that uses sound waves to provide images of internal organs).
  • CT scan of your abdomen and pelvis (a scan that uses X-rays and computers to produce cross-sectional images of your body).

How is pelvic pain treated?

The treatment of pelvic pain depends on several factors, including cause, intensity and frequency of pain. Common pelvic pain treatments include:

  • Medicine. Sometimes, pelvic pain is treated with drugs, including antibiotics, if necessary.
  • Surgery. If the pain results from an issue with one of your pelvic organs, the treatment might involve surgery or other procedures.
  • Physical therapy. Your healthcare provider may recommend physical therapy to ease pelvic pain in some cases.

Living with chronic pelvic pain can be stressful and upsetting. Studies have shown that working with a trained counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist can be beneficial in many cases. Your healthcare provider can offer more information about various treatments for pelvic pain.


How can I treat pelvic pain at home?

If you have chronic pelvic pain, there are a few things you can do to ease symptoms at home. For example:

  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium can help reduce swelling that leads to pelvic pain. Acetaminophen can also ease painful symptoms.
  • Make time for exercise. Even though you may not feel like moving, exercise helps increase blood flow and may help reduce your discomfort.
  • Apply heat. Place a heating pad or warm compress over the area, or take a long soak in a hot bath.
  • Stop smoking. Tobacco products can inflame nerves and cause pain. Avoiding these habits can help relieve pain.
  • Take supplements. If your pelvic pain symptoms are due to vitamin or mineral deficiency, supplements could help soothe your discomfort. Talk to your healthcare provider before incorporating supplements into your daily routine.
  • Practice relaxation exercises. Yoga, mindfulness or meditation can help reduce stress and tension. As a result, chronic pain may be eased.

Can pelvic pain be prevented?

Pelvic pain can’t always be prevented. However, incorporating these recommendations into your daily life can help reduce your risk:

  • Don’t overuse. Limit activities that require you to stand or walk for long periods of time.
  • Eat more fiber. This is particularly helpful if your pelvic pain is due to diverticulitis.
  • Exercise regularly. Staying physically active helps keep your joints and muscles in good condition.
  • Stretch your muscles. Warm up before exercising to help reduce the risk of pelvic pain.
  • Visit your healthcare provider regularly. Routine examinations can help your medical team detect issues early on before they worsen.

When To Call the Doctor

When should pelvic pain be treated by a healthcare provider?

If you have pelvic pain that developed suddenly, call a healthcare provider right away. You should also schedule an appointment if pelvic pain is so severe that it disrupts your daily life.

Additional Common Questions

What is pelvic pain a sign of?

While pelvic pain is often a symptom of urinary tract infections or gastrointestinal issues, it can also indicate a problem with organs in your pelvic area. There are many reasons why pelvic pain may develop. For proper diagnosis and treatment, schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider.

How do you know if pelvic pain is serious?

While not all pelvic pain is serious, seeking medical care when symptoms are severe is important. You should head to the nearest emergency room if:

  • Pelvic pain is sharp, severe or sudden.
  • You’re unable to stand up straight.
  • There’s blood in your pee or poop.
  • You’re running a fever.
  • You’re pregnant or have been pregnant in the last six months.

When should I be concerned about pelvic pain?

Pelvic pain may be serious if your symptoms developed suddenly or if the discomfort is severe. If you have pelvic pain that lasts for more than two weeks, schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Pelvic pain can be concerning, and because it’s a symptom of so many conditions, it can be particularly frustrating. Your healthcare provider can help determine the cause of your pelvic pain so you can receive the treatment you need to feel better.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 06/20/2022.

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