Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain may result from several different conditions and may differ between men and women.

Pain above the private parts and below the belly button is called pelvic pain. There are various causes for pelvic pain, which may differ in men and women.

Pelvic pain indicates an infection or problem with the pelvic bone or reproductive organs.

Causes of pelvic pain in men and women

Some common causes that affect both men and women are:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI): Most commonly seen in women. Bacteria can cause an infection in the urinary tract (urethra, bladder, uterus, and kidneys). About 50 to 60 percent of women experience UTI in their lifetime.
    • The main symptom of UTI is pelvic pain accompanied by a few other symptoms, such as:
      • Burning sensation while urinating
      • Strong smelly urine
      • Fever
      • If the infection is severe, the person may experience back pain
  • Appendicitis: Occurs due to the inflammation of the appendix. The pain could be sudden and sharp in the lower part of the abdomen. The pain gets worse when you breathe deeply, sneeze, and cough. This condition is primarily seen in teens and early 20s but can occur at any age.
  • Kidney stones: The salts and minerals cluster to form kidney stones that the body tries to pass out through urine. Kidney stones can range in size from small to large. Smaller stones may not cause any pain. However, the bigger ones, when they start moving through the urinary tract and cause severe pain.
    • Other symptoms of kidney stones include:
  • Hernia: Caused when an organ or tissue pushes into a weak spot. This forms a bulge in the pelvic region, causing severe pain. The pain worsens while coughing and sneezing.
    • Other symptoms of hernia include:
      • Pain and swelling
      • Heaviness in the area of the bulge
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: Pelvic pain is an alarming sign of sexually transmitted diseases, especially chlamydia and gonorrhea. (These bacterial infections are transmitted during sexual intercourse.) The person may feel severe pain while urinating. 
  • Irritable bowel syndrome: A common gastrointestinal disorder that affects the stomach and intestines. The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are abdominal cramps, bloating, constipation, and mucus in the stools.

7 causes of pelvic pain in women

  1. Menstrual cramps: More than half of women may experience pelvic pain for at least a couple of days in each cycle. Menstrual cramps start just before the period starts. The uterus contracts and sheds its lining. A hot compression and pain medication may relieve the pain.
    • Other symptoms during the menstrual period include:
  2. Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the severe pain in the pelvic region is due to a condition called symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). SPD is caused by the hormone released by the placenta during pregnancy called relaxin. This hormone loosens the ligaments, which leads to pain and inflammation. SPD is mostly seen by the end of the second trimester, and this condition resolves once the baby is delivered.
  3. Ectopic pregnancy: The fertilized egg implants and grows outside the uterus, mostly in the fallopian tube. Tubal pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition that needs immediate medical attention. The person may feel severe pelvic pain mostly on one side.
  4. Miscarriage: A common complication of pregnancy. Miscarriages are considered as the loss of a baby before the 20th week of pregnancy. Severe pelvic pain is the first sign of indication.
  5. Uterine fibroids: These are common benign tumors. These fibroids are lumps of fibrous tissue located in the uterus. Research suggests that 65 percent of all women, by the time they turn 50 years old, will have uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids cause severe pain and fullness in the pelvic region.
    • Other symptoms include:
      • Abnormal bleeding
      • Cramps during menstruation
      • Discomfort in the pelvis and lower back and pain during sexual intercourse
  6. Pelvic inflammatory disease: An infection of reproductive organs. These are mostly bacterial infections that are sexually transmitted. The bacteria spread from the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, causing severe pelvic pain. Some women have no symptoms and are unaware of their condition until they have difficulty getting pregnant.
  7. Ovarian cysts: The ovaries release eggs during ovulation. Occasionally, this does not happen and results in ovarian cysts. Ovarian cysts are harmless and go away, but they may have a few symptoms, such as pelvic pain, pressure in the pelvis, swelling, and bloating.

SLIDESHOW

Pelvic Pain: What's Causing Your Pelvic Pain? See Slideshow

3 causes of pelvic pain in men

  1. Bacterial prostatitis: Inflammation of the prostate gland. Bacterial prostatitis is a prostate gland infection caused by bacteria, causing severe pelvic pain.
    • Other symptoms of prostate gland infection include:
      • Fever
      • Chills
      • Difficulty passing urine
      • Frequent urge to urinate
      • Nausea
      • Vomiting
  2. Urethral stricture: The urethra is a tube that carries urine out of the body. The narrowing of the tube due to any blockage is called urethral stricture. Any swelling, infection, or trauma to the penis may cause this.
  3. Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH): An enlarged prostate gland in older men. BPH causes difficulty urinating and bladder, urinary tract, or kidney problems.
    • Other symptoms of BPH include:
      • Increased frequency of urination at night
      • Frequent urge to urinate
      • Bladder fullness
      • Inability to empty bladder

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 11/10/2022
References
Image Source: iStock image

Pelvic Pain. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/12106-pelvic-pain

Slideshow: What's Causing Your Pelvic Pain? https://www.webmd.com/women/ss/slideshow-pelvic-pain-causes

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pelvic-inflammatory-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352594