When It’s More Than Just Cramps – Your Guide to Pelvic Pain

A woman experiencing stomach pain visits her doctor.
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Women can experience pelvic pain for many reasons, from harmless but painful menstrual cramps to serious infections or uterine fibroids. As part of National Endometriosis Awareness Month, we want to help you decode your pelvic pain and decide when it’s time to seek your doctor’s help and support. With the right awareness and partner by your side, you can find the relief you need to find comfort again and live your best life.

“Normal” Pelvic Pain

Some common causes of pelvic pain are harmless, like excess gas that feels like pressure in your lower abdomen or temporary pain in the middle of your cycle (mittelschmerz) that indicates ovulation. While mittelschmerz and some minor menstrual cramps are also harmless, you shouldn’t consider more severe pain at these times as “normal.”

In general, if your pelvic pain disrupts your day and is not relieved by over-the-counter medicines, you should speak to a doctor about your pain. Even if the pain is associated with your period or ovulation, severe pain is never “normal.”

This pain may indicate endometriosis, a painful condition where the lining of your uterus (endometrium) grows outside of your uterus, such as around your ovaries. Endometriosis can cause severe pain and bleeding and even affect your ability to get pregnant.

Sudden Pelvic Pain

Sudden, severe pelvic pain can be a cause for concern. It can be caused by many conditions that need immediate care, including:

  • Appendicitis
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Ovarian torsion

If you have severe, sudden pain, we urge you to go to an emergency room immediately.

Pelvic Pain and Bleeding

Sometimes you may experience pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding at the same time. If bleeding or spotting occurs outside of your period, you pain may be caused by:

  • Cancer
  • Infection
  • Uterine fibroids

Like endometriosis, uterine fibroids can also cause heavier bleeding during your period or a longer period (more than 7 days).

Pelvic Pain and Discharge

You may be experiencing an infection if your pelvic pain is accompanied by more discharge than normal or discharge that smells unusual. Early treatment for infections can help prevent pelvic inflammatory disease, a serious condition that can cause fever and pus-filled abscesses in your reproductive organs.

When to See a Doctor About Pelvic Pain

Though pelvic pain is common, that doesn’t mean it’s normal. We can help you feel your best and encourage you to see your physician about pelvic pain if it:

  • Comes with longer or heavier periods
  • Develops quickly and is severe
  • Disrupts your daily activities
  • Gets worse over time

Live and Feel Your Best

Find out more about ways we can find the cause of your pain or discomfort and set you on the right path to help you find comfort and relief.

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