Everything you need to know about pelvic pain in women

Pelvic PainCC: Tumisu at Pixabay

Pelvic pain is an incredibly common reason for women of all ages to see their gynecologist. In fact, around 32% of women of childbearing age will see a medical professional about pelvic pain in their lifetime.

Sometimes, the pain is obvious. If you’re familiar with your menstrual cycle, you may notice the pain occurring at certain stages. On other occasions, your pains may seem mysterious and frustrating.

Fortunately, there’s no need for pelvic pain to be so mysterious. If you’re a routine sufferer, hopefully this post will clear up some common causes.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) arises when an infection spreads from your cervix to the upper elements of your pelvic organs. In addition to pelvic pain, you may notice the following:

  • Pain during intercourse
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Unusual discharge that’s yellow or green
  • Pain during urination

Around one in 4 cases of PID are due to STIs such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. It’s important to see a gynecologist, as they can take action that prevents you suffering from infertility later.


The inside of your uterus is lined by a tissue called endometrium. If you develop endometriosis, that tissue will begin to grow outside of your uterus. In most cases, it reaches other areas of the female reproductive system. However, a small number of women will experience their endometrium growing to their gastrointestinal system too.

If your pelvic pain comes with very heavy periods, pain on bowel movements, and infertility, endometriosis may be the cause. You may benefit from hormonal therapies and/or surgery that removes the overgrown tissue. If you’re trying to fall pregnant, you may also benefit from infertility treatment.

Urinary tract infection

Many women will experience a UTI at some stage in their lives and when they do the symptoms soon make life miserable. You’ll feel pelvic pain that rests in your suprapubic area, which is the region just above your mons pubis.

In addition to pelvic pain, you’re likely to encounter:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Increased urination
  • Not passing much urine

If you begin experiencing a fever and flu-like symptoms too, there’s a chance the infection has spread further into your urinary tract. In either case, seeing your doctor as soon as possible is important. They’ll prescribe antibiotics and provide you with advice on pain relief.

Less common causes of pelvic pain

Some causes of pelvic pain aren’t particularly common, but they’re worth acknowledging anyway. They include:

  • Pelvic congestion syndrome
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Prolapsed uterus
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Trapped and damaged nerves in the region

Whatever you suspect the cause is, receiving a rapid diagnosis is important. With the right treatments, you may be able to live a pain-free and more comfortable life.

About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.