Pelvic pain is the pain felt in the lower part of the abdomen and pelvis. In women, pelvic pain might refer to symptoms arising from the reproductive, urinary or digestive systems, or from musculoskeletal sources.
Pelvic pain can present in different ways and have different characteristics. Sometimes pelvic pain comes only at certain times, such as during periods, when you urinate, open your bowels or during sexual activity.
Pelvic pain can occur suddenly, sharply and briefly (acute) or over the long term (chronic). Chronic pelvic pain refers to any constant or intermittent pelvic pain that has been present for six months or more.
Causes of acute pain include ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease (infections of the womb, the tubes or ovaries related to bacterial infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea etc), appendicitis, urine infections or bowel problems such as constipation and IBS.
Long-term pelvic pain can be related to endometriosis, adenomyosis, pelvic adhesions, large fibroids, ovarian pathology and chronic bowel or bladder problems.
A high quality ultrasound scan is the investigation of choice as it provides detailed information on pelvic pathology or reassurance when the pain is functional, caused by normal ovarian activity.