Most Common Causes of Pelvic Pain

If you’re suffering from pain in your lower belly or pelvis, it’s hard to know if it’s a fleeting problem or the symptom of something more serious. Because pelvic pain is a symptom of many things, it’s important to seek medical help to determine the underlying cause. 

Depending on the underlying cause, you might experience a dull pain that spreads throughout the pelvis or sharp stabbing pain in one area. Severe pelvic pain is serious and can limit your ability to carry out daily activities.

Dr. Mark Schumacher and our team will get to the root of your pelvic pain. Dr. Schumacher offers a range of diagnostic services and performs minimally invasive procedures to treat most gynecological problems in the office. 

Read on to learn some of the most common causes of pelvic pain and when you should seek medical attention. 

What are the most common causes of pelvic pain?

Everyone knows your monthly menstrual cramps can cause pelvic pain. But sometimes pelvic pain isn’t linked to your period. The most common causes of pelvic pain include: 

Ovulation pain

Your ovaries release a mature egg every month, about midway between menstrual cycles. Sometimes, women experience mittelschmerz, or ovulation pain, in their pelvis and lower abdomen when this occurs. 

While the exact cause is unknown, doctors believe the fluid and blood released along with the egg may be the culprit. This fluid can irritate the lining of your abdomen, causing a sharp pain or dull ache as it spreads. 

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

Sometimes pelvic pain is due to an STD. Not all STDs cause pelvic pain, however, several do. The most common are chlamydia and gonorrhea. In addition to pelvic pain, they can cause bleeding between periods, abnormal discharge, and painful urination. It’s important to have routine STD screenings.


Benign tumors that grow in your uterus or on the wall or surface of the uterus are called uterine fibroids. Along with pelvic pain, fibroids cause many other uncomfortable symptoms, like heavy periods, bleeding between periods, cramping, lower back pain, frequent urination, and pain with sex.

Endometriosis or adenomyosis 

Endometriosis is caused when endometrial tissue grows outside of your uterus instead of on the uterine lining. When this endometrial tissue grows into the muscular wall of your uterus, adenomyosis results. Both endometriosis and adenomyosis can cause pelvic pain along with severe cramps and heavy bleeding. 

Ovarian cysts

During your menstrual cycle, follicles form on the ovaries. They help your ovaries release a mature egg each month. When a follicle doesn’t open or close again after the egg’s release, it will swell with fluid causing an ovarian cyst

While they may cause pelvic pain, bloating, and pressure sensations, ovarian cysts aren’t harmful and typically resolve on their own. If a cyst bursts, it may cause severe pain resulting in a visit with your doctor or the ER. 


Your appendix is a small organ on the right side of your abdomen. When it becomes infected or inflamed, you can develop appendicitis. Appendicitis pain usually begins around your belly button before migrating to your lower right abdomen. You may also have a fever and experience vomiting or nausea. Appendicitis requires immediate medical attention. 

Ectopic pregnancy

When a fertilized egg, or embryo, implants outside the uterus, a condition called ectopic pregnancy results. Most ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tubes, where the egg isn’t able to grow. 

Ectopic pregnancies can have the same signs and symptoms as a normal pregnancy. Other symptoms include stabbing pain in the pelvis, vaginal bleeding, gastrointestinal symptoms, and weakness.

If you think you might be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, call Dr. Schumacher immediately. Ectopic pregnancy is life-threatening and requires immediate intervention. 

Bladder problems

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bladder inflammation (cystitis) can also cause pelvic pain. UTIs can spread to your kidneys, so it’s important to seek treatment with antibiotics as soon as symptoms appear. Since bladder inflammation isn’t caused by infection, treatment usually involves non-medicinal therapies to alleviate irritation.

Pelvic inflammatory disease 

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) results as a complication of STDs. It can cause permanent damage to your reproductive organs, as well as infertility in women. Symptoms include pelvic pain, abdominal pain, fever, pain during sex, and painful urination. If you experience any of these symptoms, call Dr. Schumacher right away to avoid permanent damage. 

If you have debilitating pelvic pain, don’t wait any longer for relief. Visit our website to schedule an appointment with Dr. Schumacher today.

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