From the moment you pass through puberty, your reproductive system comes on line in earnest, and with this transition can come problems with pelvic pain. Though many women experience pelvic pain during their menstrual cycles (cramping), 15% of women in their childbearing years in the United States report pelvic pain that lasts for six months or more.
At Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Fernando Otero and our team have considerable experience helping women navigate every stage of their reproductive lives. From puberty to menopause and beyond, we’re here to help with any issues that may arise, including pelvic pain.
Here’s a look at some of the potential causes of pelvic pain and what you can do to find relief.
As mentioned, many women experience a few days of cramps during their monthly cycles, which is perfectly normal as the uterus sheds its lining. If your cramps are debilitating enough to keep you from your daily activities and/or they last for more than just a few days, this isn’t normal, and we advise you to have us check it out. This is especially true if your cramping is accompanied by heavy bleeding.
Endometriosis affects 11% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the US, which means it’s a fairly common reproductive problem. With endometriosis, the lining of your uterus grows outside the organ, often draping itself over your ovaries, outer uterine wall, Fallopian tubes, and connective tissues.
As your monthly cycles come and go, this lining acts as if it were inside your uterus, thickening to receive a fertilized egg and then trying to shed itself when none arrives. Unfortunately, when the lining is outside your uterus, it has nowhere to go, which can lead to adhesions and pelvic pain, especially during your periods.
Up to 80% of women during their childbearing years develop uterine fibroids. In most cases, the growths are harmless, and you’re likely not even aware of their existence. In other cases, the fibroids can grow large or numerous enough to create symptoms, including pelvic pain. This pain may come and go with your menstrual cycles, and you may also feel it during intercourse.
Another indicator of problematic uterine fibroids is a feeling of fullness in your abdomen, which doesn’t quite qualify as pain.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
If you have a sexually transmitted infection that goes untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease. The hallmarks of pelvic inflammatory disease are:
- Pelvic pain
- Vaginal discharge
- Painful sex
- Spotting between periods
- Painful urination
If you’re experiencing any of these issues, you’d do well to have us check you out so that we can treat the underlying infection as quickly as possible.
Treating pelvic pain
Numerous conditions can lead to pelvic pain as well as more that we don’t cover here. The bottom line is that ongoing pelvic pain isn’t normal, and you should come in to see us so that we can perform an extensive evaluation of the problem using advanced diagnostic tools like imaging.
Once we identify the problem, we can get you on the road to relief.
If you’d like to put an end to your pelvic pain, please contact one of our two locations in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to set up an appointment.