When your pelvic area hurts, you may wonder what’s going on with your body, especially if you’re not menstruating and you don’t think that you’re pregnant. Pelvic pain can be an indication that something’s seriously awry. Both men and women, for instance, might experience sharp, excruciating pain in their lower right pelvis that could be a sign of appendicitis.
However, women commonly experience pelvic pain due to issues in their reproductive organs. Compassionate and caring OB/GYNs Daniel McDyer, MD, FACOG, and Julian Stephen Suhrer, MD, evaluate pelvic pain and any other troubling symptoms you have at their two Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville offices in Jacksonville, Florida. Following are five of the many causes of pelvic pain, and what — if anything — you should do about them.
1. Ectopic pregnancy
Normally, sperm fertilizes an egg while it’s in your fallopian tube. The fertilized egg then travels down the tube to the uterus, where it implants in the blood- and nutrient-rich uterine lining.
If the egg stays in the fallopian tube, or implants anywhere other than the uterus, you have an ectopic pregnancy, which can be extremely painful and is life-threatening. Signs that you may have an ectopic pregnancy include:
- Pelvic pain
- Light bleeding
- Missed period
- Breast tenderness
These symptoms could also be a sign of a normal pregnancy, so come to your nearest Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville office for an evaluation as soon as possible. An ectopic pregnancy only occurs in about 2 out of every 100 pregnancies, but it’s very dangerous. Go straight to the emergency room if you experience any of the following:
- Severe pelvic pain
- Severe abdominal pain
- Vaginal bleeding
- Shoulder pain
An ectopic pregnancy can rupture your fallopian tube and cause internal bleeding that could be fatal.
2. Sexually transmitted disease
Many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) don’t cause symptoms until late in their progression. That’s why Dr. McDyer and Dr. Suhrer recommend annual STD tests if you’re sexually active. Contact your doctor if you do have troubling symptoms, such as:
- Pelvic pain
- Pain while urinating
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Bleeding between periods
- Genital or anal itching
Your doctor devises a treatment plan based on the type of STD you have. They may also recommend a vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the main cause of cervical cancer.
Every month, your uterine lining becomes enriched by blood and nutrients in preparation for a possible pregnancy. If you have a condition known as endometriosis, though, the tissue that makes up your uterine lining grows outside of your uterus too. Like normal uterine tissue, it engorges with blood each month, but unlike normal uterine tissue, it can’t exit your body through your vagina.
The trapped tissue irritates the surrounding organs and other soft-tissues, creating inflammation and pain. In addition to pelvic pain, you might experience heavy bleeding during your period if you have endometriosis.
Endometriosis can affect your fertility and make it hard to get pregnant. Your doctor might prescribe pain medication, hormone therapy, or — if you’ve finished your family — minimally invasive endometrial ablation to control or eliminate endometriosis.
4. Urinary tract infection
If you have a urinary tract infection (UTI) you may feel pain in the center of your pelvis or around the pelvic bone. Other symptoms of a UTI include:
- Pain or burning while urinating
- Continuous urge to urinate
- Only urinating small amounts
- Cloudy, pink, or red urine
- Urine with a strong smell
Your doctor prescribes antibiotics to clear up the bacterial infection that causes a UTI. They may give you pain medication so that you can urinate more comfortably. They also discuss lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of future UTIs.
Approximately 10% of women develop benign growths in their uterus called uterine fibroids. While small fibroids may not cause any symptoms, as they grow larger with time, they may cause:
- Pelvic pain
- Heavy bleeding
- Frequent urination
- Fertility problems
- Back and leg pain
Your doctor may prescribe hormone blockers to shrink your fibroids. You might also benefit from hormonal birth control and other medications. If you’re trying to get pregnant, your doctor may recommend surgically removing your fibroids.
Pelvic pain can also be a sign of other serious or potentially life-threatening conditions, including ovarian cancer, colon cancer, and kidney stones. If you have pelvic pain, contact us for an evaluation by phoning the nearest office or using the online message form.