Pelvic pain is pain below your belly button and above your legs. This area includes your bowel, bladder, ovaries, uterus and more, and it’s important to know what’s normal and what’s not – and when you should seek help.
Persistent pelvic pain is pain that you feel on most days for six months or more.
Causes and symptoms
Some common causes of persistent pelvic pain include:
- Period pain: period pain is experienced by most people but if the pain is so severe that it interferes with your everyday life, you should talk to a doctor. Severe period pain can be a sign of endometriosis.
- Endometriosis: this is when the lining of the uterus grows in other parts of the body, typically the bowel, bladder or ovaries. This can cause pain, scarring and inflammation. The pain is commonly felt before and during your period, during or after sex and can be felt in the pelvis, stomach, back or when you ovulate.
- Bladder and urinary tract infections (UTIs) – these affect over 50% of all women during their lifetime. Pain typically occurs when passing urine and is a burning sensation and/or lower abdominal pain.
- Vulval pain – irritation and inflammation of the vulva.
Diagnosis, treatment and management
You should see a doctor if over-the-counter pain relief doesn’t help and the pain interferes with your day-to-day life.
Because many different disorders can cause pelvic pain, diagnosing the cause is often a process of elimination. Your doctor will take your medical history and conduct a physical examination. They may also ask you to keep a journal of your pain and other symptoms.
Other tests or exams include urine and blood tests. In some cases, your doctor may refer you for an ultrasound, x-ray or laparoscopy.
Depending on the cause of the pain, a number of treatment options are available, including medications, physical therapy, use of hormonal treatments to reduce the number of periods or surgery.
Family Planning Tasmania services
Family Planning Tasmania can assist with a pelvic pain assessment, and a pelvic pain management plan, which may include:
- Hormonal contraception
- Referral for surgery
- Referral for physical therapy
- Lifestyle changes
If you need assistance, advice or treatment for pelvic pain or any other sexual or reproductive health issue, please make an appointment with one of our friendly doctors.
This content is provided for general information and education purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances. It is not to be relied on in substitution for specific advice from a medical professional and Family Planning Tasmania does not accept responsibility for such use. Family Planning Tasmania has taken every effort to ensure that the information is up to date and accurate, however information and knowledge is subject to change. Family Planning Tasmania advises that you always consult a medical professional for individual advice.
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