Progressive Women's Healthcare

5 Potential Causes of Pelvic Pain

Mar 22, 2024
5 Potential Causes of Pelvic Pain

From a dull ache to sharp pain during certain activities, you’re dealing with ongoing pelvic pain and you want answers — and relief. Our goal is to provide both, starting with this look at common culprits behind pelvic pain.

Pain anywhere in your body can cast a long shadow over your life, becoming a most unwelcome backdrop to everything you do. This is certainly true of pelvic pain, which is all too common in women thanks to reproductive issues.

At Progressive Women’s Healthcare, our exceptional team of providers, under the direction of  Dr. Lathan Overstreet, understands the many avenues to pelvic pain. We explore some of the more common (and uncommon) ones here.

Before we begin, we want to note that pelvic pain can encompass a number of different systems, including your urinary tract, your lower digestive tract, and your reproductive organs. Because we're an OB/GYN practice, we’re focusing here on reproductive issues that lead to pelvic pain. Let’s take a look.

1. Endometriosis

One of the most common causes of chronic pelvic pain in women is a condition called endometriosis, which affects more than 11% of women in their reproductive years. 

With endometriosis, cells and tissues that normally line your uterus grow outside of it, in your pelvic cavity. These tissues can implant themselves on different organs and surfaces, such as on your ovaries or on the outside of your uterus.

These endometrial tissues still respond to menstrual cycles, except that they have nowhere to shed out, which can lead to the formation of adhesions (scar tissue). It’s these tissues that can cause pelvic pain, a symptom that affects nearly half of women with endometriosis. The pain may flare during your periods, or intercourse might become uncomfortable because of the adhesions.

2. Pelvic inflammatory disease

Despite ongoing awareness efforts, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are still at all-time highs in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 1 in 5 people has an STI.

If you have an untreated STI, you’re at great risk for developing a pelvic inflammatory disease, which affects about 2.5 million women in the US. This inflammation can lead to a dull, pelvic ache.

A great way to avoid (or resolve) this pain is to visit Progressive Women’s Healthcare for STI testing.

3. Uterine fibroids

Many women develop uterine fibroids, which are noncancerous growths, during their reproductive years. In fact, most women are unaware of their existence. If, however, fibroids become large or numerous enough, or they’re in a challenging location, you can experience pelvic pain or pressure.

4. Ectopic pregnancy

If a fertilized egg implants anywhere outside of your uterus, we call it an ectopic pregnancy. This condition is uncommon and, when it occurs, it can lead to severe and sudden cramping. If your pelvic pain seemingly develops out of nowhere, and it’s severe, please seek help right away.

5. Ovarian cysts

Women are no strangers to ovarian cysts, which form on the outside of the ovaries as a result of failed egg release or when a follicle becomes clogged. In most cases, these cysts resolve on their own.

In rare cases, the cyst continues to grow and it can cause pelvic discomfort. If you experience sharp pain on one side of your pelvis, this might indicate that a cyst has burst or it’s twisted around your ovary, which is a medical emergency.

While the list above covers some common and uncommon culprits behind pelvic pain, the best way to figure out what’s behind your discomfort is to come in for an evaluation. To get started, please call our office in Atlanta, Georgia, at 404-383-7387 or click here to book an appointment today.