Many women experience pelvic pain. Your pain may be short-lived or a source of chronic discomfort that interferes with your everyday life. Because pelvic pain can develop from many sources, it’s not always easy to identify the underlying cause.
At Advanced Endometriosis Center our OB/GYN specialist, Dr. Ulas Bozdogan, is skilled at diagnosing and treating women who suffer from pelvic pain. To help you better understand the reasons behind pelvic pain, we want to share some of the most common causes.
Varying degrees of pelvic pain
Like many pain conditions, your pelvic pain symptoms can vary in both severity and type, and you may have a hard time pinpointing the exact location of your pain. With pelvic pain you may feel:
- Dull aching
- Sharp shooting pains
- Pressure or heaviness
You may also only experience the pain under certain circumstances, such as certain times of your menstrual cycle or during intercourse. Or you may feel discomfort all the time.
Whether your pelvic pain is sudden, intermittent, or ongoing, if the pain is interfering with your ability to carry out your daily activities, then it’s not something you should ignore.
Common causes of pelvic pain
Your lower abdominal area is home to your reproductive organs, digestive system, and urinary system. The pain you feel in your pelvic area may be due to a condition that affects any of these systems. Common gynecological causes of pelvic pain include:
Endometriosis can cause chronic pelvic pain in women. With endometriosis, your endometrium, which is the tissue that lines your uterus, is found in other parts of your pelvic area, including your fallopian tubes, ovaries, or bowel.
While it’s common, endometriosis can be difficult to diagnose. We specialize in this condition and can determine if it’s the underlying cause of your pelvic pain and provide the necessary treatment.
Fibroids are benign tumors that grow in the lining of your uterus and affect as many as 80% of women. The tumors don’t always cause symptoms, but depending on their size and location, they can be a source of pelvic pain or pressure.
Many women experience cramping and pain during menstruation. However, for some women, the pain can be debilitating, which is a condition referred to as dysmenorrhea. For most women, the severe pain is caused by an overproduction of prostaglandins, which is a chemical produced by your uterus that’s responsible for muscle contractions that contribute to the cramping pain.
Dysmenorrhea can also be a secondary side effect of an underlying gynecological condition, such as endometriosis or fibroids.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Undiagnosed and untreated sexually transmitted diseases can lead to PID, which may cause the formation of scar tissue on your pelvic organs.
If your pelvic pain is sudden or unexpected, it may be due to an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage, which requires immediate medical attention.
Your pelvic pain may also be caused by conditions that affect your digestive system, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or your urinary system, such as interstitial cystitis.
Diagnosing the cause of your pelvic pain
Because of the many potential causes of pelvic pain, a comprehensive examination is needed to determine the underlying cause of your discomfort. When you come in for an appointment, we review your symptoms and medical history and perform an exam, including a pelvic exam.
We may also need to perform diagnostic tests to confirm or rule out a suspected condition. Testing may include:
- X-rays or MRIs
- Blood work
In some cases, such as the diagnosis of endometriosis, we may need to perform a laparoscopy, which is a minimally invasive procedure that allows us to see your reproductive organs using a small surgical camera called a laparoscope. During the procedure, we may also be able to perform any necessary surgical treatment to alleviate the cause of your pain.
If you’re suffering from pelvic pain and searching for answers, let us help you. Call one of our offices in New York City or Hackensack, New Jersey, or request an appointment online.