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8 Possible Causes of Recurring Pelvic Pain

8 Possible Causes of Recurring Pelvic Pain

You’re used to the pain and discomfort that arrives each month with your period, but you know these menstrual cramps won’t last and that they’re a normal part of your reproductive process. So, when you develop pelvic pain outside your periods, and it’s not going away, you want answers.

It might surprise you to learn that 1 in 7 women in the United States has the same experience as you — chronic or recurring pelvic pain.

One of the reasons behind this large number is that there are many different drivers of pelvic pain in women. To paint a clearer picture, Dr. Fernando Otero and the team here at Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley review eight issues that we commonly see at our practice.

1. Uterine fibroids

Up to 80% of women develop uterine fibroids, which are noncancerous growths in the walls of the uterus. In most cases, these growths don’t lead to symptoms, but their size, number, or location can make them more problematic and lead to pelvic pain.

2. Endometriosis

More than 11% of women in their reproductive years develop endometriosis, a condition in which endometrial tissues grow outside the uterus (normally they line the organ). When this happens, the tissues act as if they’re inside the uterus and they thicken and try to shed out with each menstrual cycle. Except, with endometriosis, they have nowhere to go and they can form painful adhesions in the pelvis.

3. Pelvic inflammatory disease

In 2022, more than 2.5 million cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia were reported in the United States. These sexually transmitted infections, if left untreated, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which counts pelvic pain as one of its primary symptoms.

4. Ovarian cysts

Another road to pelvic pain is a cyst on an ovary. Ovarian cysts are common and, thankfully, mostly harmless. That said, they can grow large enough to cause pelvic pain, especially if they twist around an ovary, which can lead to sudden and severe pain.

A twisted ovary is a medical emergency so if your pelvic pain is sudden and you experience nausea and vomiting as well, get medical help immediately.

5. Ectopic pregnancy

If a fertilized egg tries to grow outside the uterus, typically in a fallopian tube, it’s called an ectopic pregnancy. Not only will this type of pregnancy fail, it can also lead to pelvic pain.

6. Adenomyosis

This is a condition in which the endometrial tissues that line the uterus grow into the muscular walls of the organ, which can lead to significant pelvic pain.

7. Pelvic organ prolapse

If one of the pelvic organs starts to shift downward, such as the bladder or uterus, it can lead to pelvic discomfort as well as functional issues. Called pelvic organ prolapse, this problem is common among women who have transitioned through menopause.

8. Gynecologic cancers

Lastly, and most seriously, certain gynecologic cancers can lead to pelvic pain, along with vaginal bleeding and discharge. These cancers include ovarian, cervical, and uterine cancers.

This list is far from complete, and we've only covered reproductive issues here. Your pelvis also houses part of your digestive tract and your urinary tract, so problems in these areas can also lead to pelvic pain.

The best way to figure out what’s behind your pelvic pain is to come see us for a thorough examination. To set that up, please contact one of our offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to schedule an appointment.

 

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