The pelvis has multiple functions in the body. It supports the spinal column and protects our abdominal organs. Your locomotion also depends on the pelvis. It transmits the body weight via the pelvic girdle to the lower limbs.
Another critical role the pelvis plays is in childbirth. The birth canal lies within the pelvic girdle. It is the path through which the baby will find an entry into the world.The pelvis is in the lower abdomen, right where it meets the legs. Indeed a more exact location would be between the groin and belly button.
When everything is good, there should be no pain in the pelvis. But sometimes, you may experience pain radiating to or from the pelvis. Depending on the nature of the pain, there may or may not be a cause for concern.
Let’s take the example of bacterial yeast infection in the vagina. The harmful organisms can, due to overgrowth, penetrate the membranes. They will spread to the reproductive organs resulting in PID (pelvic inflammatory disease).
Other than pelvic pain, you have to deal with some other unpleasant symptoms. These include discharge, severe itching, and irritation in your privates. You can find quick relief from vaginal itching with over-the-counter prescriptions. But, a trip to the doctor will be necessary to deal with the PID.
Understanding Pelvic Pain
There are two types of pelvic pain you need to be wary of.
- Acute pain that is severe or sudden. It tends to fluctuate, meaning sometimes there is no pain at all and sometimes it can come down bearing on you. It can last anywhere between four weeks or longer.
- Chronic pelvic pain can last for as long as half a year and beyond. It will persist, despite medical intervention.
So what are some of the contributing factors to pelvic pain? Let us try and list some of the most common contributing factors here:
Many people refer to pelvic pain as cramps when menstruating. You will experience it in the lower abdomen or pelvis before or during your menses.
The intensity of the pain can vary and may come with other symptoms. These include joint pain, lower back pain, headache, nausea, and insomnia.
For some ladies, the cramps get pretty bad. So bad that they will need doctor-prescribed pain management.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease affects female reproductive organs. The most common way of it spreading is through sexual activity. Bacteria can also find their way into your body during menstruation, miscarriage, or childbirth.
The bacteria will spread within the vagina, fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries. What makes PID tricky is that you may not get to know about the infection due to a lack of symptoms. Other ladies will experience chronic pelvic pain ranging from mild to severe. Other symptoms include:-
- Vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor
- Unusual bleeding after coitus or between your menses
- Pain when urinating or during sex
- In more severe cases, there will be vomiting and high fever.
It is in your best interest to see a doctor as soon as you notice any of the symptoms. Failure to do so can result in complications, including ectopic pregnancy and infertility. Others are chronic pelvic pain for years and tubo-ovarian abscess.
Ovulation is the process through which the ovaries release an egg. Fluids facilitate the traveling of the egg down the fallopian tubes into the uterus. Sometimes the liquid will leak into the pelvis or abdominal cavity. That can cause a level of irritation and pain, which can last anywhere from a few minutes to hours.
The pain can be on either side of the body. It depends on which ovary releases the egg. Most of the time, the pain will resolve without needing medical intervention.
Ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg implants and starts to grow outside of the uterus. One of the most common positions is the fallopian tube. The challenge is that the tube cannot expand with the embryo’s growth. The symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include:-
- Sharp pelvic pain or cramping on one side
- Vaginal bleeding
This is a life-threatening condition, and emergency treatment is necessary.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
One of the first indicators of a sexually transmitted disease is pelvic pain. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are especially notorious. Symptoms include bleeding between periods and pain when urinating. There will also be abnormal discharges that may have a foul smell.
You must seek treatment for such diseases. Please make sure you carry along your partner for the checkup. You both need treatment to avoid further spreading of the disease.
Appendicitis presents as a sharp pain in the lower abdomen. For other people, the pain starts in the navel and then spreads out. The pain can reach critical levels the more the inflammation worsens. There may also be fever and vomiting.
Early intervention is necessary to avoid the bursting of the appendix. If that happens, the infection spreads within your body, resulting in severe complications.
Endometriosis can rear its ugly head anytime during productive years. Tissue, similar to what you will find in the uterus, starts to grow. It will also act as it would if within the uterus. That means it will continue to thicken and shed every time you have your periods.
The pain that accompanies endometriosis ranges from mild to debilitating. It can worsen during menstruation, bladder/ bowel movement, and sex.
The pain seems to center around the pelvic region. But it can also travel into the abdomen.
Other symptoms include nausea, bloating, and heavy bleeding during menses. One common side effect of endometriosis is infertility. In severe cases, you may need to undergo surgical procedures. Over-the-counter medications can help with pain management.
Ovarian torsion describes the situation when the ovary twists on itself. The pain is immediate and quite excruciating. There may also be vomiting and nausea.
You need to seek immediate medical attention. Surgery will be necessary to unwind the ovaries back to the normal position.
Ovarian Cyst Rupture
Cysts can stay in the ovary without any complications. The challenge is when they bust, resulting in sharp, sudden pain. Do seek medical attention if you experience this.
The pelvis has a critical role to play in our bodies. Yet, so many conditions can interfere with its normal functioning. We have shared some of the most common reasons behind pelvic pain. It doesn’t hurt to learn to identify them because it could be a life saver at some point.