Many women are accustomed to mild menstrual cramping — approximately 80%, according to Women’s Health Concern. However, if you’re in the 5-10% of women who experience such severe pelvic pain that you can’t go to work or cope with other responsibilities, it could be a sign of a more serious reproductive health problem.
Marsha D. Bornt, MD, Donna Lamson, CRNP, MSN, WHNP-BC, and the all-women team at Apple Hill Gynecology, in York, Pennsylvania, want you to know that severe pelvic pain isn’t ever normal. In fact, pain is how your body signals that something is wrong and that you need to take action.
When to talk to your gynecologist about pelvic pain
Regular cramping around ovulation or your period is typically mild and brief. It shouldn’t disrupt your life. If you have severe or long-lasting pelvic pain, you should talk to your women’s health care provider. You should also make an appointment if you have heavy bleeding, painful urination, abnormal discharge, or a fever with your pelvic pain.
Our team provides comprehensive exams and testing to identify the issue causing your pain and personalized treatment plans to eliminate your pain and restore your quality of life.
Pelvic pain causes
Pelvic pain has many potential causes, including:
Endometriosis occurs when endometrium, the tissue that lines your womb each month, forms on organs and tissue outside of your uterus. Endometriosis usually affects other organs in your pelvic areas, such as your Fallopian tubes, ovaries, and pelvic floor muscles. It can cause painful inflammation and scar tissue.
Your ovaries create a cyst every month to release an egg. These cysts disappear after releasing your egg. Hormonal abnormalities can lead to cyst formation that doesn’t lead to egg release and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It’s possible for a cyst not to release the egg or clog with fluid before your body absorbs the tissue.
Fibroids are noncancerous tissue growths that develop in or on your uterine walls. They can cause pelvic pain or painful intercourse. Uterine fibroids can also interfere with your fertility.
Pelvic adhesions are scar tissue pieces that form inside your body, connecting tissue that shouldn’t be connected. Infections, endometriosis, and other issues can lead to pelvic adhesion formation.
Ectopic pregnancies occur when the fertilized egg implants in your Fallopian tube instead of your uterus. Ectopic pregnancies aren’t viable and can lead to severe complications when left untreated.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
PID is an infection of your uterus that can spread to the surrounding tissue in your pelvic area. It’s often caused by a bacterial infection or develops as a complication of an STD like chlamydia or gonorrhea. In addition to causing pain and abnormal discharge, PID can affect your fertility.
Though most STDs don’t cause symptoms in their early stages, as these infections progress, they can cause pelvic pain and other symptoms such as abnormal bleeding, painful urination, and thick, discolored vaginal discharge.
You could also have a urinary tract infection (UTI), interstitial cystitis, kidney stones, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Our team can help
After your exam and testing, we create personalized treatment plans to address your unique needs. Your treatment could be as simple as a prescription for antibiotics or hormone therapy. In some cases, you might need a more invasive treatment, including surgery to remove uterine fibroids or endometriosis.
Please don’t ignore pelvic pain or assume it’s a normal part of womanhood. Call our office, or make an appointment online today to find out what’s causing your pelvic pain and get the customized treatment you need to relieve your pain.