Pelvic Pain Awareness Month PART 3:


Conditions that only affect women

Pelvic pain arising from the female reproductive system might be caused by conditions such as:

  1. Mittelschmerz (Painful Ovulation) is pain in the lower belly and pelvis that some women get when they ovulate. Ovulation is the release of an egg from the fallopian tube that occurs halfway through your menstrual cycle. The pain you feel from mittelschmerz is on the side of your abdomen where the egg is released. Mittelschmerz is not serious.


  1. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstrual cramps: Most women get cramps in their lower abdomen just before and during their monthly menstrual period. The discomfort comes from hormone changes, and from the uterus contracting as it pushes out the uterine lining. Painful periods are called dysmenorrhea. 10 % of women have pain severe enough to disrupt their daily life. A heating pad, over-the-counter pain relievers, exercise and de-stressing can help.


  1. Ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus — usually in the fallopian tubes. As the egg grows, it can cause the fallopian tube to burst, which can be life threatening and a medical emergency. Pain from an ectopic pregnancy comes on quickly and can feel sharp or stabbing.
  1. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection in a woman’s reproductive tract. It starts when bacteria get into the vagina and travel to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other reproductive organs. PID is usually caused by an STI. The pain from PID is centered in the lower belly. It can feel tender or achy. If left untreated, PID can lead to infertility.
  1. Ovarian cyst rupture or torsion: Ovaries release eggs when you ovulate. Sometimes a follicle does not open to release the egg. Or it recloses after it does and swells with fluid. This causes an ovarian cyst. They are usually harmless and go away on their own. But they may cause pelvic pain, pressure, swelling, and bloating. However, if a cyst twists or breaks open (ruptures), it can cause pain in your lower belly on the same side as the cyst. The pain can be sharp or dull, and it may come and go.
  1. Uterine fibroids: Uterine fibroids are growths in the wall of the uterus and are common during a woman’s reproductive years. It is usually not cancerous. Fibroids can range in size from tiny seeds to large lumps that make your belly grow. Larger fibroids may cause pressure or pain in the pelvis. Fibroids are common in women in their 30s and 40s. 


  1. Endometriosis is when tissue that normally lines your uterus grows in other parts of your pelvis. When it is time for your period, the tissue thickens and break down. But the tissue has no way to leave the body. It can cause pain and form scar tissue that may make it tough to get pregnant.

11 % of women between the ages of 15 and 44 develop endometriosis.

Endometriosis causes pelvic pain before and during your period. The pain can be severe.

  1. Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS): Varicose veins develop around your ovaries. The valves that normally keep blood flowing in the right direction through the veins no longer work. This causes blood to back up in your veins, which swell up. This condition is much more common in women. Pelvic pain is the main symptom. The pain can feel dull or achy. It will often get worse during the day, especially if you have been sitting or standing a lot.


  1. Pelvic Organ Prolapse: The female pelvic organs stay in place thanks to a hammock of muscles and other tissues that support them. Due to childbirth and age, these muscles can weaken and allow the bladder, uterus, and rectum to fall down into the vagina. Pelvic organ prolapse can affect women of any age, but it’s most common in older women. This condition can cause a feeling of pressure or heaviness in your pelvis. You might also feel a lump protruding from your vagina. Special exercises or surgery may help.



  1. Vulvodynia it hurts when you ride a bike or have sex. It burns, stings, or throbs around the opening of your vagina and the feelings can be ongoing or come and go. Treatment options range from medication to physical therapy

Pelvic Pain Awareness Month PART 2:


Conditions that only affect men

Chronic pelvic pain syndrome affects 10–15 % of the male population.


  1. Prostatitis

Prostatitis is inflammation and swelling of the prostate, a small gland in the male reproductive system. The prostate produces a fluid that goes into semen.

There are a few types of prostatitis:

Acute bacterial prostatitis arises from a bacterial infection in the prostate and can cause pain in the pelvis, groin, or lower back and can also lead to discomfort in the penis or testicles.

Chronic bacterial prostatitis is a recurring infection of the prostate. The symptoms may be less severe.

Nonbacterial prostatitis is inflammation in the prostate that lasts a long time and may result from nonbacterial prostatitis, a type of chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis can cause virtually no symptoms.


  1. Chronic pelvic pain syndrome

Men who have long-term pelvic pain (>3 months) with no infection or other obvious cause are diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain syndrome. 3 to 6 % of men have chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and have pain in the penis, testicles, area between the testicles and rectum (perineum), and lower belly.


  1. Urethral stricture

The urethra is the tube that urine passes through from the bladder out of the body. Urethral stricture refers to a narrowing or blockage in the urethra caused by swelling, injury, or infection. The blockage slows the flow of urine out of the penis. Urethral stricture affects about 0.6 % of men as they age. This problem is much more common in men.


  1. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

BPH refers to a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. This gland normally starts out the size and shape of a walnut. The prostate continues to grow as you age. When the prostate grows, it squeezes down on your urethra. The bladder muscle must work harder to push out urine. Over time, the bladder muscle can weaken, and you can develop urinary symptoms. BPH is quite common in older men. About half of men ages 51 to 60 have this condition. By age 80, up to 90 percent of men will have BPH.


  1. Post-vasectomy pain syndrome

With a vasectomy the surgeon cuts the vas deferens, so that sperm can no longer get into the semen. About 1 to 2 percent of men who have a vasectomy will have pain in their testicles for more than 3 months after the procedure. It can be caused by damage to structures in the testicle, or pressure on nerves in the area.


Pelvic Pain Awareness Month PART 1:


The 10 most common causes of pelvic pain in women or men:

  1. Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection in your urinary tract. which includes your urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. UTIs are quite common, especially in women. About 40 to 60 percent of women will get a UTI in their lifetime, often in their bladder. A common symptom is pain in the middle of the pelvis and in the area around the pubic bone.


  1. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Gonorrhea and chlamydia are bacterial infections that are transmitted through sexual activity. In many cases, gonorrhea and chlamydia will not cause symptoms. Women may have pain in their pelvis — especially when they urinate or have a bowel movement. In men, the pain can be in the testicles.

  1. Hernia

A hernia occurs when an organ or tissue pushes through a weak spot in the muscles of your abdomen, chest, or thigh. This creates a painful bulge. Hernia pain gets worse when you cough, laugh, bend over, or lift something. About 25% of males will experience a hernia, typically as they age, and the muscles become weaker. Weightlifting can exacerbate an existing hernia.

  1. Appendicitis The appendix is a small organ on the right side of the body that is attached to your large intestine. Inflammation in the appendix can cause pelvic pain. If sharp pain in the lower right abdomen gets worse when you breathe deeply, cough, or sneeze, seek immediate medical attention.


  1. Kidney stones or infection form when salts or minerals, such as calcium, build up in the urine, and the body has trouble getting rid of them. These minerals can clump together and crystallize into urinary stones. The stones only tend to cause symptoms when the body tries to pass them. The pain usually starts in your side and lower back, but it can radiate to your lower belly and groin. You can also have pain when you urinate. Kidney stone pain comes in waves that get more intense and then fade. Even if they can pass on their own, your doctor can help with pain medication. Drink lots of water.


  1. Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder that is usually caused by an infection of the urinary tract. It causes pain or pressure in your pelvis and lower belly. It is most common in women in their 30s and 40s. A doctor will typically use a short course of antibiotics to treat a bladder infection.


  1. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), sometimes called spastic colon. It commonly causes symptoms along the intestinal tract. IBS affects about twice as many women as men, and it usually starts before age 50. The abdominal pain and cramps of IBS tend to go away temporarily after a bowel movement. Diet changes, stress management, and medications may help.


  1. Adhesions are bands of scar-like tissue. They form between organs or structures that are not meant to be connected. You can get adhesions after abdominal surgery. Adhesions do not always cause symptoms. When they do, belly pain is most common.


  1. Pudendal nerve entrapment

The pudendal nerve supplies feeling to your genitals, anus and urethra. An injury, surgery or growth can put pressure on this nerve in the area where it enters or leaves the pelvis. Pudendal nerve entrapment causes nerve pain. This feels like an electric shock or deep aching pain in the genitals, the area between the genitals and rectum (perineum), and around the rectum. The pain gets worse when you sit and improves when you stand up or lie down.


  1. Pelvic floor muscle spasm Much as spasm of neck and shoulder muscles can lead to tension headaches, spasm of the pelvic floor can lead to genital pain and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). Pain can be felt in the penis, testicles, perineum (sensation of “sitting on a golf ball”), lower abdomen and lower back.