Abdominal Cramping - Pelvic Pain in Women
Written by Mike Cohen
Saturday, 03 October 2009
A woman's pelvis contains the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, vagina, bladder, and rectum. Pelvic pain refers to any pain or discomfort in this area of the body.
What is going on in the body?
Pelvic pain is a common symptom in women. It is frequently, but not always, related to the reproductive system. Other causes of pelvic pain are related to the intestines or urinary tract. Psychological factors can make the pain seem worse, or even cause a sensation of pain where no physical problem exists.
Pelvic pain can range from mild discomfort or cramping, to severe, intense pain. This pain may be acute, when it occurs suddenly, or chronic, when the pain lasts for a long period of time.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Pelvic pain in females has many causes including:
- pelvic adhesions, which are fibrous bands holding parts together that are usually separate
- endometriosis, a disorder in which patches of endometrial tissue (normally found only in the lining of the uterus) grow outside the uterus
- peritonitis, an inflammation usually caused by an infection of the lining of the abdomen
- urinary tract infection
- hernia, or a bulging of internal organs or tissues through an abnormal opening in the muscle wall
- menstrual cramping
- Mittelschmerz, which is pain in the middle of the menstrual cycle caused by ovulation
- ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy in which the fetus develops outside of the uterus
- twisted ovary
- ovarian cysts
- uterine fibroid, a noncancerous growth that occurs in the wall of the uterus
- colon cancer or ovarian cancer
- diverticulosis, a saclike protrusion of any part of the digestive tract, usually in the large intestine
- irritable bowel syndrome
- gastroenteritis, a general term for a group of conditions caused by infection in the digestive tract
- kidney stones
- abscess, or an accumulation of pus usually caused by a bacterial infection
- pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and adjacent pelvic structures. PID is commonly caused by a sexually transmitted disease that is not treated quickly and effectively.
- appendicitis, or inflammation of the appendix
- musculoskeletal disorders, such as a misalignment or shifting of the pelvic bones
- psychological factors, such as stress
Other causes are also possible. In some cases, the cause is never found.