Pain in the Pelvic Area: What Does it Mean?


August 15, 2023

We’ve all had pain in our bodies before. Whether it’s a paper cut, a headache, or menstrual cramps, everyone experiences it at some point in their life. But what happens when the pain is localized to your pelvic region? Pelvic pain can be acute or chronic and can vary in intensity. It can be caused by an injury, a medical condition, or sometimes everyday stress. It can happen when sitting, standing, or even during sex.

Whatever the cause, pelvic pain can be extremely frustrating and debilitating, making everyday activities like going to the bathroom or putting on pants feel like torture. If you’re experiencing this pain, you’re not alone—it is estimated that 1 in 7 women and 1 in 10 men suffer from pelvic pain at some point in their lives. Here’s everything you need to know about this common but often debilitating condition.

What is Chronic Pelvic Pain?

Chronic pelvic pain is defined as pain that lasts for more than six months and is often associated with menstruation, sexual activity, or urination. The pain can be either sharp or dull and can come and go, or it can be constant. It can vary in intensity and may radiate to other parts of the body like the lower back and abdomen.

What Types of Pain Are Common in the Pelvic Region?

The type of pelvic pain experienced can vary depending on the condition causing it. This types of pain in this area include:

  • Pelvic Congestion Syndrome: This pain is caused by varicose veins in the pelvic and is often described as a dull ache that worsens during the day and improves at night. Pelvic congestion syndrome is most commonly seen in women who have had multiple pregnancies.
  • Prostatitis: This is an inflammation of the prostate gland that can cause urinary symptoms such as frequency and urgency as well as pelvic pain. Prostatitis can be caused by bacterial infections, but the exact cause is often unknown.
  • Arthritis: This is a condition that causes inflammation in the joints. There are many different types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common types that affect the pelvis. Both types of arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the pelvis.
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD): Occurs when there is dysfunction in the muscles or connective tissues of the pelvis floor—the group of muscles that support the organs in your pelvis, including the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum—leading to problems with bowel movements or urination as well as pelvic pain or discomfort during sex.
  • Groin Pain: Groin pain (also called inguinal pain) is common and can be caused by a variety of issues including inflammation, infection, or injury to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support your hips and legs.

Diagnosing Pelvic Pain

If you are experiencing pelvic pain, it is important to see your doctor. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and may perform a physical exam to check for any underlying conditions causing the pain. They may also order tests such as an ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, or X-ray to help diagnose the cause of your pain.

How Can This Pain Be Treated?

Once the cause of your pelvic pain has been identified, your doctor will recommend treatment options based on their diagnosi, which include:

  • Surgery: This may be necessary to remove cysts or scar tissue from endometriosis or PID.
  • Antibiotics: These are used to treat bacterial infections such as prostatitis or PID.
  • Pain medication: Over-the-counter or prescription medications may be necessary to help manage the pain associated with pelvic conditions.
  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can teach you exercises to help relieve pain and improve function in the pelvic region.
  • Nerve blocks: A procedure that involves injecting a numbing medication into the area to block pain signals and provide relief. These can be used to help reduce inflammation and improve the function of nerves in the pelvic region.
  • DRG stimulation: A treatment that uses electrical impulses to stimulate the nerves in the lower back and pelvis to help relieve pain.

Are There Any Complications Associated with Pelvic Pain?

Chronic pelvic pain can have a significant impact on your quality of life. The pain may interfere with activities such as exercise, sexual activity, and sleep, which can lead to fatigue, depression, and anxiety. It is also important to note that long-term use of medications or surgery can cause complications and side effects.

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If you’re experiencing pain in the pelvic area, contact a qualified medical professional to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Pelvic pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, so it’s important to rule out any serious underlying causes.

At Southeast Pain and Spine Care, we understand how debilitating pelvic pain can be. We offer a variety of treatments that can help relieve your pain and get you back to living your life. Please fill out the form below to contact us today to learn more about our pelvic pain treatment options. We’ll work with you to create a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

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