You’re experiencing pelvic pain, and you want to know whether a sexually transmitted disease (STD) may be to blame. While there are many conditions that can lead to this type of discomfort, there are two STDs that count pelvic pain among the potential side effects — chlamydia and gonorrhea.
In the following, Dr. Fernando Otero, and our team here at Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley, take a closer look at the relationship between STDs and pelvic pain.
Behind the pelvic pain
One of the leading causes of pelvic pain is a condition we call pelvic inflammatory disease. This pain is often described as a dull ache in your lower abdomen, and it can also flare when you urinate or have sex.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a broad term that describes an infection in one of your reproductive organs, such as your:
- Fallopian tubes
There are several ways that bacteria can make their way up into your pelvic organs, and chlamydia and gonorrhea are the two primary culprits. If you don’t recognize the existence of either of these STDs and seek treatment, the infection can spread up into your reproductive organs, which is what causes the pelvic pain.
Beyond pelvic pain
While we described the type of pain that typically accompanies a pelvic inflammatory infection, you may experience other signs of a problem, such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Irregular periods
If your symptoms — namely pain and fever — develop quickly, the odds are good that it’s associated with gonorrhea.
Why we’re concerned about STDs that lead to pelvic pain
As we mentioned, pelvic inflammatory disease most often develops on the heels of an untreated STD, which means the infection has already spread and will continue to spread unless you take action.
The reason why we’re concerned is that if you don’t have us treat the infection early on, it can lead to ongoing problems with fertility, as the infection may permanently alter the function of your reproductive organs. For example, scar tissue may form on your fallopian tubes and prevent pregnancy.
Treating your STD-related pelvic pain
The good news is that treating pelvic inflammatory disease, especially in its earlier stages, typically only involves a course of antibiotics. We urge you to take the medication as prescribed, even if your symptoms improve before you’re done with the regimen.
If you’re experiencing pelvic pain, it’s important that you come see us sooner rather than later so we can take the necessary steps to prevent permanent damage. To get started, contact one of our two offices in McAllen and Edinburg, Texas, to set up an appointment.