Pelvic pain is a common problem for women. It’s a general term for pain that occurs below the belly button. That includes pain in the lower belly, lower back, buttocks, and genital area. About 14% of women in the U.S. have pelvic pain lasting for at least 3 to 6 months. Many others experience it occasionally.
Yet pelvic pain isn’t something you just have to accept. Help is available. There are several possible causes for the pain, each with its own treatment. But the first step toward finding relief is always the same: seeing your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis.
Different women experience pelvic pain in various ways. The pain may be steady, or it may come and go. In some cases, it occurs at specific times, such as during a woman’s menstrual period or when she needs to use the bathroom.
Possible causes of pelvic pain include:
- Endometriosis—a condition in which tissues normally found inside the uterus grow elsewhere in the pelvic region
- Irritable bowel syndrome—a digestive problem that can lead to bloating, pain, constipation, or diarrhea
- Pelvic floor disorders—injury or weakening of the muscles and tissues that hold pelvic organs in place
- Interstitial cystitis—a condition that causes pain in the bladder area and a need to urinate frequently and urgently
- Urinary tract infection—an infection in the kidneys, bladder, or tubes that carry urine
If you’re experiencing pelvic pain, see your healthcare provider. In addition to asking about your symptoms and performing an exam, your provider may use lab tests, imaging, or a scope procedure to track down the source of your discomfort.
Finding the culprit
Visit this symptom checker to learn about other causes of pelvic symptoms.
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN