Women's Health

Common Causes of Pelvic Pain in Women

Pain in the pelvic area is more common than you think.

Nov. 10, 2021 4   min read

It is unknown how many women suffer from pelvic pain in the U.S. each year, according to the National Institutes of Health. We do know that thousands of women are treated for pelvic pain each year however, which is why Rochester Regional Health is launching the Pelvic Health Center – the best setting in Western New York to identify and treat women’s pelvic health conditions.

Megan Carmel, MD, is an OBGYN specialist with Rochester Regional Health and shares some of the causes of pelvic pain – and what to do next.

Where and when you feel it

Pelvic pain is usually felt in the lower abdomen, lower back, vulva and groin. The sensation can take several different forms and it is important not to dismiss your pain because you don’t consider it to be “that bad.”

These feelings of pain can be either constant or one that comes and goes. Pelvic pain can be dull and achy or feel like a sharp, cutting jab that arrives without warning. Sometimes, it starts during an activity, such as exercise or sex, while other times it is instigated by nothing in particular at all. Still for others, pain may be more severe during your period.

Try to take note of the type of pain you have, when you have it and what makes it start or stop. Remembering how long the pain lasts and how often it happens is also important. Bringing this information to your doctor, either in your memory or in a written journal can be very helpful to determine a cause and treatment.

Potential causes

There are several possible causes of pelvic pain, ranging from easily treated infection to more serious health conditions. For some women, there can be more than one cause of pain.

Some of these may include:

  • Infection in organs such as uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, vagina, ovaries, bladder or bowel
  • Pelvic muscle strain
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic congestion syndrome
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Vulvodynia
  • Interstitial cystitis

“For some, pain is easily treated at one or two visits. For others, it may take several visits to determine where the pain is coming from and determine the best treatment plan,” Dr. Carmel said. “Pain that is chronic or long term is often more difficult to treat and can be very frustrating and mentally exhausting for patients. Rest assured that we know that your pain is real, understand how tough it can be to live with, and are here to partner with you to find the cause and the best treatment.”

Taking the next step

Any patient can schedule an appointment through the Pelvic Health Center on their own - no referral needed. At your first appointment, our team will discuss your symptoms with you and perform a general evaluation to determine an appropriate treatment plan. Share as much as you can with them, including the frequency and duration of the pain, as well as any activities that may precede it.

Following the evaluation, a doctor may refer you to a specialist for a pelvic exam to take a closer look at the affected area. Some doctors or specialists may order lab tests and bloodwork to rule out potential causes.

In some cases, an ultrasound, pelvic MRI or laparoscopy might be performed to better analyze the condition of certain organs or muscles.

Through the resources of the Rochester Regional Health Pelvic Health Center, our providers have access to a wide variety of specialists, experts, therapies, and treatments to ensure you are on track to living a full life, free of pain.

“Once we are able to get that information about your pain and your body, we can start to put together a treatment plan,” Dr. Carmel said. “We will work with you to make sure you know all options available and that you are comfortable with every step before we start to move forward.”

NEXT STEPS Comprehensive Pelvic Health Center

Our team of expert providers and specialists at Rochester Regional Health are ready to help you with your pelvic health needs. With centralized and coordinated care, we provide Western New York’s best pelvic health care.

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