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Know The Signs: What Pelvic Pain Can Say About Your Health

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Many women who experience pelvic pain or pressure choose to suffer in silence rather than seeking medical attention. This can be a major mistake as pelvic discomfort can be a sign of a serious medical condition.

Diagnosing the cause of pelvic pain can be difficult, as many different conditions present similar symptoms. If your doctor is able to pinpoint the root cause of your pain, treating the condition may resolve the problem. When a single cause can’t be found, treatment is often focused on minimizing discomfort and improving quality of life.

Understanding Pelvic Pain Symptoms

Pelvic pain or discomfort occurs in the area between your bellybutton and your hips. It may come in the form of a dull ache, sharp pain, cramping, or a feeling of heaviness.

Depending on the cause, the discomfort can come and go or be steady and severe. You may also experience pain during intercourse, while using the bathroom, or when sitting or standing for long periods of time.

Common Causes of Pelvic Pain

There are many possible causes of pelvic pain and discomfort. Following are the ten most common conditions that may be causing your pain. Familiarizing yourself with the other symptoms associated with each condition may help to aid in your diagnosis.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis occurs when uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus. These tissue deposits thicken, break down, and bleed in response to your menstrual cycle. Since the tissue is outside of your uterus, the blood cannot exit through your vagina. Instead, it collects in your abdomen where it can cause painful cysts and adhesions. The most common symptoms are pain during ovulation, during menstruation, and during and after sex.

Interstitial Cystitis

This condition, also known as painful bladder syndrome, is an inflammation of the bladder that is not associated with an infection. It’s most common in women between the ages of 30 and 50. A frequent, urgent need to urinate, discomfort during urination, and pain during sex are all possible symptoms of interstitial cystitis.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Many women suffer from urinary tract infections. This condition, caused by bacteria, can affect the bladder, kidneys, or urethra. Common symptoms are pelvic pressure, burning or pain while urinating, and urine that is cloudy, bloody, or has a strong smell.

Chronic Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease is a bacterial infection that can affect the fallopian tubes, uterus, or ovaries. It can be spread through STDs like Chlamydia or Gonorrhea. Symptoms include abnormal vaginal discharge, pain during sex, irregular periods, and pain while urinating. You may also experience fever, nausea, and fatigue.

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

Pelvic congestion syndrome occurs when blood backs up in the veins located in the pelvis. This may cause chronic pain in your pelvis and lower back and aches in your legs.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

If you’re suffering from IBS, you may experience constipation or diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, incontinence, and chronic pelvic pain. This pain may be relieved after you’ve had a bowel movement.

Uterine Fibroids

Some women who suffer from uterine fibroids experience no symptoms. For others, these noncancerous growths within the uterus can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, frequent urination, constipation, and hemorrhoids.

Levator Syndrome

Pelvic muscle spasms, also known as levator syndrome, often occurs while sitting. The pain typically lasts for 20 minutes or less and may be so severe that it wakes you up from a sound sleep.  

Pelvic Support Problems

A weakening of the ligaments and muscles that hold your organs in place can sometimes result in pelvic pain. You may experience a feeling that something is falling out of your vagina. Other symptoms include leaking urine, low back pain, difficulty with bowel movements, and pain during sex.

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