If you experience discomfort in the lower abdomen, below your belly button, then you have pelvic pain. Although pelvic pain can affect men, it is much more common in women, and is one of the main reasons for consulting a doctor who specialises in women's health, a gynaecologist. If you suffer with pelvic pain, it is important to seek medical advice to find out the cause, especially if the pain is getting more severe or more frequent.
What causes pelvic pain?
The pelvis contains loops of bowel and bladder, which can sometimes cause pelvic pain. In females, however, the pelvis also holds the reproductive organs, and the womb (uterus), ovaries or fallopian tubes are the most common, resulting in severe uterine pain in women.
You may notice pelvic pain in the middle of your menstrual cycle, for example, as one or more egg follicles develop. These can cause pressure pain on one or both sides of your pelvis, as they swell. Once you release the egg (ovulation) the pressure pain will disappear. If you are taking the oral contraceptive pill, which stops ovulation, you will not usually experience this mid-cycle pain.
Other possible causes of pelvic pain include
- Swelling or cyst on an ovary
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (an infection that spreads up from the cervix to cause inflammation of the womb and Fallopian tubes)
- Pelvic adhesions (bands of scar tissue that can form after previous abdominal or pelvic surgery, such as a Caesarian section, or removal of your appendix)
- Pregnancy complications
Pelvic pain can be due to a surgical emergency that needs urgent treatment, such as a twisted ovarian cyst, a ruptured fibroid or an ectopic pregnancy.
What to do if you have pelvic pain
If you have pelvic pain, it is important to seek medical advice. A gynaecologist at The Medical Chambers Kensington can diagnose the cause, answer all your questions, and explain the different treatment options available.