Potential Causes of Pelvic Pain

What You Should Know About Pelvic Pain

Woman sitting on edge of bathtub holding her stomach in pain
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Sooner or later, as women, most of us experience some degree of pelvic pain. Sometimes it can be a harmless part of your monthly cycle, but other times the pain can signal something is wrong. If pelvic pain is severe enough to disrupt your daily life for either a few days a month or for longer amounts of time, if pelvic pain increases over time or if you have experienced a recent increase in pain, you should talk with your healthcare provider to determine the cause.

There can be many causes of pelvic pain, so be prepared for a long diagnostic process. Many times there is more than one reason for pelvic pain and it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact source. It may be necessary for your physician to consider other parts of your body when determining the cause of pelvic pain. Pelvic pain can be caused by problems in the digestive or urinary systems, as well as the reproductive organs.


If you have pain in the lower right side of your belly, are throwing up or have a fever, it's important to go see a doctor. It could very well be appendicitis, a condition that can require surgery in order to manage the infection. If not taken care of, the infection can spread to other parts of your body and cause serious issues.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

If you regularly experience belly cramps, bloating and diarrhea, you may suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms; IBS symptoms can be minimized through treatment with medication and stress management.

PMS or Menstrual Cramps

Leading up to your period, you may experience pain in the belly or lower back. Typically, menstrual cramps can be managed with hot-water bottles and over-the-counter pain medications.

But some people experience extreme cramps that inhibit their daily lives; if your pain is severe or lasts for a long time, talk to your doctor. In some cases, your doctor may recommend birth control pills, which can reduce cramps for some people.

Ectopic Pregnancy

If an embryo implants outside of the uterus and begins to grow, this is known as an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies can cause sharp pain in the pelvic area, vaginal bleeding, and dizziness. This is an extremely dangerous condition that can potentially be life-threatening. See a doctor right away if you experience these conditions.

Ovarian Cysts

Your ovaries release eggs when you ovulate. If a follicle fails to open to release the egg, or it may close again and swell with fluid. Typically, these cysts are harmless, albeit painful. If a cyst bursts, you may experience intense pain and have to go to an emergency room.

These are just a few common causes of pelvic pain in women. Most pelvic pain is harmless and part of normal health, it can signal that something more serious is wrong.

If your pain becomes intense or lasts for more than just a couple of days, it's important to seek medical attention right away.


"Pelvic Pain". WebMD. 2015. 

Pelvic Pain. ACOG Education Pamphlet 2009. 

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