What Does Your Pelvic Pain Mean?
Don’t let pelvic pain put a damper on your weight-loss resolution – i.e., that sexy six pack you’ve been dreaming of all year long.
While mainly associated with your monthly visitor (menstrual cramps), pelvic pain is often a mystery and may be indicating a more serious health issue. To get relief, your first step (after the totally legit complaining) should be figuring out what’s wrong.
The following are examples of the different types of pelvic pain most commonly described by women, and their possible cause or origin. Always consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.
Localized pain: May be due to an inflammation
Cramping: May be caused by spasm in a soft organ, such as the intestine, ureter, or appendix
Sudden onset of pain: May be caused by a temporary deficiency of blood supply due to an obstruction in the circulation of blood
Slowly-developing pain: May be due to inflammation of the appendix or an intestinal obstruction
Pain involving the entire abdomen: May suggest an accumulation of blood, pus, or intestinal contents
Pain aggravated by movement or during exam: May be a result of irritation in the lining of the abdominal cavity
Talk to your doctor about these other possibilities if the pain is consistent or reoccurring:
It’s cancerous: Though rare (fewer than 200,000 US cases per year), ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries and may cause menstrual irregularities, back, abdominal or pelvic pain, frequent urination, bloating and indigestion.
It’s gynecological: When uterine tissue grows outside the uterus (ovaries, fallopian tubes or the intestines), also called endometriosis, it can cause severe pain with urination and bowel movements during menstruation, pain during sex, frequent yeast infections and fatigue. According to Reproductive Science and the Journal of Endometriosis, the disorder affects an estimated 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years (usually between the ages of 15 to 49). That’s approximately 176 million women in the world.
Although the exact cause of endometriosis is unclear, possible explanations include: