What is Pelvic Pain?
Pelvic pain affects the lowest part of the abdomen (below the belly button) and most women get it at some point in their lives to varying degrees. It often comes with regular periods, but can also be a symptom of a wide variety of conditions.
What causes Pelvic Pain?
Since the pelvis is home to many different organs and important structures, pelvic pain can have many causes. Some of these include:
Menstruation – over half of all menstruating women will have some pain for 1-2 days of their cycle. This is relatively normal, and it’s not a cause for concern unless it prevents you from functioning normally, cannot be managed at home, or lasts longer than the first few days of your cycle.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) – Since your bladder is located in the pelvis, UTIs or other bladder problems can cause pelvic pain.
When should I seek help?
Since pelvic pain has a lot of possible causes, it’s sometimes difficult to know when to see a doctor. We recommend consulting a medical professional if:
It’s interfering with your day-to-day life
If your pelvic pain stops you from working, relaxing, or sleeping, it’s best to seek professional help.
It impacts normal function
Pelvic pain can be intrusive, but it shouldn’t stop you from working, playing sport, or doing other things you love. If you can’t do what you love due to pelvic pain, it’s best to seek help.
It develops suddenly
Pelvic pain that develops suddenly can be a sign of a severe medical conditions which need an urgent response (such as appendicitis). If your pelvic pain develops suddenly, you should seek medical attention immediately.
It’s become significantly worse over time
Pelvic pain doesn’t always stay at the same level. If your pain becomes worse or other symptoms develop (such as period concerns), It’s best to see a doctor.
Pelvic pain during pregnancy (often called pelvic girdle pain or PGP) happens in a lot of women. If you’re experiencing pelvic pain during your pregnancy, it’s best to see your obstetrician to rule out complications.
How do i get diagnosed?
If your pelvic pain can’t be managed on your own, your doctor may commission one or more tests to help determine the cause. Tests your doctor might recommend to assess pelvic pain include:
- Pelvic exam – your doctor manually feels around your pelvis for abnormalities.
- Blood tests – these can be used to look for accompanying hormonal issues.
- Pelvic ultrasound – high frequency waves are used to gain a clear image of your pelvic organs and look for any abnormalities.
- Laparoscopy – Your doctor uses a small camera to look at the organs inside your abdomen.
- Pelvic pain journal – your doctor may ask you to record when your pain occurs how long it lasts, and how severe it is to help them gain a better understanding of your condition.
Based on the results of these tests, your doctor may prescribe treatment or refer you to a specialist. You can ask to be referred to Dr Homar at Toowoomba Obstetrics and Gynaecology for further treatment by mentioning us to your doctor.