Pelvic Pain in Females

Abdominal and/or pelvic pain is unfortunately quite common, and will all experience it at times. Predictably, since females have additional organs within the pelvic region, abdominal pain is even more common in females, particularly pelvic pain. In fact, abdominal/pelvic pain represents the most common complaint in most emergency departments, as several causes of abdominal pain need immediate diagnosis and treatment. Here, we will discuss lower abdominal pain in females, which is categorized as pelvic pain.

Common Causes of Pelvic Pain in Females

Most of the pain females experience in the pelvis comes from the genitourinary system, which includes the urinary bladder, vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. In fact, genitourinary issues are 12 times more common in women than in men. At least some pain with menstruation is typically common. Each of the organs listed above can get infected, which usually causes pain. Additionally, cysts can develop on the ovaries and if they become large enough, can cause pelvic pain. Finally, in rare cases, tumors can develop in the uterus or ovaries that cause pain.

Other common causes of pelvic pain include appendicitis (an infection of the appendix in the lower right side of the abdomen), which is more common in younger females, and diverticulitis (inflammation or infection of the colon usually in the left lower side of the abdomen), which is more common in older females.

Differentiation of Causes of Pelvic Pain in Females

Determining the exact cause of female pelvic pain is one of the more challenging diagnoses for doctors to make. Occasionally, a person’s symptoms and physical examination are specific enough to allow diagnosis without extensive investigation. For example, urinary symptoms would suggest a problem with the urinary bladder or urethra and might be treated without further testing. But often, even with suggestive symptoms, diagnosis requires careful physical examination by an experienced physician, urine tests, blood tests, and radiology studies.

When to see a doctor

Many episodes of female pelvic pain resolve on their own and never require diagnosis and treatment. However, certain symptoms should prompt immediate evaluation by your doctor or in the emergency room. These include:

1. Pain during pregnancy
2. Sudden onset of severe pain
3. Severe pain that persists longer than an hour or so
4. Fever above 100.4 F
5. Vomiting
6. Changes in bowel habits or bloody stool
7. Heavy menstrual bleeding
8. Vaginal discharge

How can we help?

If you are experiencing concerning abdominal or pelvic pain, CapRock has you covered. As with most ERs, abdominal pain is the most common condition we evaluate and we have all the labs and radiology studies immediately available to help as needed. Or, you can call us with any questions.