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Causes and Symptoms of Chronic Pelvic Pain

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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

This is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries that causes them to become inflamed and infected. Most often it is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection, like gonorrhea or chlamydia These organisms go from the vaginal canal up through the cervix, into the uterus, out the fallopian tubes, and into the surrounding pelvic organs including the ovaries. Rarely these bacteria can infect these organs in other ways, like through douching. Scars left by the infection may cause chronic pelvic pain; more commonly, the pain is acute.

Symptoms you may have:

  • Vaginal discharge having an unusual color, texture, or odor
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain in a specific area or more widespread
  • Pain during sex
  • Irregular or missed periods
  • Menstrual cramps that are worse than usual
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Pain when you urinate
  • Pain when you ovulate
  • It hurts when you press on certain areas of your pelvis
  • Lower back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

Pelvic congestion is just like the varicose veins that some women have in their legs, but it affects the veins of the pelvis. Blood backs up in the veins, making them become enlarged and engorged. Pelvic congestion causes chronic pelvic pain in some women.

Symptoms you may have:

  • Pain starts 7-10 days before your period
  • Pelvic pain is worse when you sit or stand
  • Lying down relieves pelvic pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Aches in your legs
  • Pain during sex

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Chronic pelvic pain sometimes isn't only due to problems with reproductive organs or the urinary tract; other organs the pelvic area, if "diseased," can present as pelvic pain. Irritable bowel syndrome, an intestinal condition that often causes pain, may be the cause.

Symptoms you may have:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Incontinence
  • Flatulence
  • Bloating
  • Pain relieved by a bowel movement

Uterine Fibroids

Fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow in, and on, the wall of the uterus. Not all women who have them notice symptoms, but for some, fibroids can be painful.

Symptoms you may have:

  • Heavy periods
  • Feeling pressure or fullness in your abdomen
  • Need to urinate frequently
  • Pain or cramps during your period
  • Constipation
  • Hemorrhoids
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