What are the possible causes and remedies for pelvic pain or discomfort?

Symptom Database

Pelvic pain or discomfort refers to any pain or discomfort experienced in the pelvic area, which is the lower part of the abdomen between the hip bones. It can be a distressing and debilitating condition that affects both men and women. Pelvic pain can have various causes, ranging from gynecological issues to digestive disorders. Understanding the possible causes and remedies for pelvic pain is crucial in order to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.

Possible Causes of Pelvic Pain

Gynecological Issues

One of the most common causes of pelvic pain in women is gynecological issues. These can include:

  • Endometriosis: A condition where the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of it, causing pain and inflammation.
  • Uterine fibroids: Noncancerous growths in the uterus that can cause pelvic pain and heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • Ovarian cysts: Fluid-filled sacs that develop on the ovaries and can cause pain if they rupture or become twisted.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): An infection of the female reproductive organs, usually caused by sexually transmitted infections.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also cause pelvic pain. UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract and multiply, leading to inflammation and discomfort. Symptoms of a UTI can include a frequent urge to urinate, a burning sensation during urination, and pelvic pain.

Digestive Disorders

Pelvic pain can also be a result of digestive disorders, such as:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): A chronic condition that affects the large intestine and can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits.
  • Constipation: Difficulty passing stools can cause pelvic pain and discomfort.
  • Diverticulitis: Inflammation or infection of small pouches that develop in the lining of the intestine.

Diagnosing Pelvic Pain

Diagnosing the cause of pelvic pain can be challenging, as it can be a symptom of various underlying conditions. A healthcare professional will typically conduct a thorough medical history review, physical examination, and may order additional tests, such as:

  • Ultrasound: A non-invasive imaging test that uses sound waves to create images of the pelvic organs.
  • MRI or CT scan: These imaging tests provide more detailed images of the pelvic area.
  • Laparoscopy: A surgical procedure where a small camera is inserted into the abdomen to visualize the pelvic organs.
  • Urinalysis: A urine test to check for signs of infection or other abnormalities.
  • Blood tests: These can help identify markers of inflammation or infection.

Treatment and Management of Pelvic Pain


Depending on the underlying cause of pelvic pain, medication may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and inflammation. Hormonal medications, such as birth control pills, may be recommended for conditions like endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Antibiotics are prescribed for pelvic pain caused by infections.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be beneficial for managing pelvic pain, especially if it is related to muscle tension or dysfunction. Techniques such as pelvic floor muscle relaxation exercises, stretching, and biofeedback can help relieve pain and improve muscle function.

Lifestyle Changes

Adopting certain lifestyle changes can also help manage pelvic pain. These may include:

  • Eating a balanced diet: A diet rich in fiber can help prevent constipation, which can contribute to pelvic pain.
  • Staying hydrated: Drinking enough water can help maintain regular bowel movements and prevent urinary tract infections.
  • Managing stress: Stress can exacerbate pelvic pain, so finding healthy ways to cope with stress, such as through exercise or relaxation techniques, can be beneficial.

Surgical Interventions

In some cases, surgical interventions may be necessary to treat the underlying cause of pelvic pain. This can include removing ovarian cysts, fibroids, or endometrial tissue through minimally invasive procedures like laparoscopy. In severe cases, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be recommended.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Persistent or severe pelvic pain should not be ignored, and medical attention should be sought. Additionally, if pelvic pain is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as fever, heavy bleeding, or difficulty urinating, immediate medical attention is necessary.

Pelvic pain can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, it can be effectively managed. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause of pelvic pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan. By addressing the root cause and implementing appropriate remedies, individuals can find relief from pelvic pain and regain control over their daily lives.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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