You’ve probably felt a twinge of pain in your abdomen before and been unable to identify the source. Pain in the pelvic area and lower abdominal region can come from a number of different organs and origins. Occasionally, pain felt in the pelvis may not even be from organs located in that area. This makes it difficult to accurately identify the source of the pain. Today, we’re discussing the conditions commonly associated with abdominal pain or pelvic pain.
Mittelschmerz, the German word for “middle pain” or “central pain”, is short-term pelvic pain that occurs during ovulation. The pain occurs when the membrane that covers the ovary has to stretch to release the egg just before and during ovulation. Levels of pain can differ from person to person, but this is a temporary issue (a few hours or less) that usually resolves itself without medical intervention.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself outside of the uterus. Most ectopic pregnancies consists of the fertilized egg attaching to the fallopian tubes, also referred to as a tubal pregnancy, however the fertilized egg can attach to the ovary, the horn of the fallopian tube, the cervix, the vaginal cavity, and even the abdomen. Because the areas are not meant to host a fertilized egg, the egg cannot develop properly and therefore, must be treated by a medical professional. In some cases, an ectopic pregnancy can resolve itself, but if diagnosed or suspected, you will be monitored closely by your Healthcare Provider to confirm a decreasing beta hCG level.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
PID is an infection of a woman’s reproductive organs, usually caused by sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea. The infection can spread from the vagina to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or uterus. Symptoms of PID can include pelvic pain, vaginal discharge, fever, irregular menstrual bleeding, and more. The treatment of PID requires medication and in more serious cases, hospitalization.
Endometriosis is a condition where endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus. Experts are unsure of what exactly causes endometriosis and an estimated 1 out of every 10 women in the United States suffer from this condition. Certain factors could put you at a higher risk for endometriosis such as never giving birth, family medical history, past pelvic infections, and uterine abnormalities. There are a lot of possible treatments for this condition, including but not limited to, surgery and hormone therapy.
Small ovarian cysts can go unnoticed for years. However, larger cysts can cause serious health problems and severe pain. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled pockets on the ovaries and abdominal, pelvic, and even lower back pain are a few of the associated symptoms. The pain can stem from bursting of cysts, torsion (twisting of cysts around a blood source), or rapid growth of the cysts. Many ovarian cysts will go away on their own after 2-3 months, causing no problems. However, some require surgery to remove.
Urinary Tract Infection
UTIs are caused by bacteria invading the urethra and infecting the bladder. UTIs are common among women and can go away on their own. Severe cases can affect the kidneys and cause bigger concerns. If you have a UTI, you’re likely to experience a burning sensation upon urination, pain in your lower back or abdomen, a frequent urge to urinate, or fever and chills. Antibiotics and a lot of fluids are the fix for a urinary tract infection.
There are a lot of potential causes of pelvic pain and most of them are not life altering. Many of these conditions go away on their own or with the help of antibiotics. If you are having abdominal or pelvic pain and aren’t sure of the cause, consult with a medical professional as soon as possible.
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