Most women experience pelvic pain at some or the other time during their live time. Mostly it is just the normal functioning of the reproductive or
other organs, but at other times it may indicate a serious problem that needs urgent
CAUSES OF PELVIC PAIN
Many organs, including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes are located in the pelvis. The bladder and intestine, and appendix are also found
next to the reproductive organs, and sensations from these organs can feel like pain from
the uterus or ovaries. That is not all, pain from the kidney and pain from muscles
and from the abdominal wall can also seem to come from the pelvis.
PELVIC PAIN FALLS INTO THREE CLASSIFICATIONS
- Pelvic pain that indicates a serious problem and that needs
urgent surgery or hospitalization. Examples of this type of pelvic pain would be
a ruptured tubal pregnancy or appendicitis.
- Pelvic pain that indicates a problem that may need
treatment, but not on an urgent basis. Examples of this would include pain from
endometriosis, or a growing fibroid tumor. Chronic pelvic pain also falls into this
- Pelvic pain that is caused in the course of normal
functioning of the reproductive organs, and will probably resolve without
treatment. This pain can be severe, but is self-limited. A frequent cause of
this is pain during ovulation and a "functional" ovarian cyst.
PELVIC PAIN: THE TRUE EMERGENCIES
- A True Emergency is one that if not treated urgently
will cause serious harm or death. One of the causes is ruptured tubal (ectopic)
pregnancy. Many women with a tubal pregnancy will continue to have menstrual-like
bleeding, so they do not consider this possibility. The only way for a doctor to be
sure not to miss this diagnosis is to presume every woman, in the reproductive age, is pregnant, until proved
- What else could prove dangerous? Most ovarian cysts do not need to be (and should not be) treated urgently. Occasionally, an ovarian cysts
will twist (undergo torsion) and cut off the blood supply to the
ovary. Fortunately, only a very small percentage of ruptured cysts need any treatment
- Pelvic infection (Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID)
caused by chlamydia or gonorrhea needs to be treated without delay. These infections
often cause diffuse lower abdominal pain, and may or may not cause a fever.
Unfortunately, the diagnosis of PID is used to explain any pain whose cause is not
obvious. Laparoscopy, a procedure in which a little telescope actually
examines the tubes and ovaries, may be necessary for an accurate diagnosis.
- Non-gynecologic emergencies should also be kept in
mind. Pain from appendicitis often starts out near the navel, and then moves to the
right lower side. Inflammation of the colon can cause severe pain, as can kidney