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Chronic Female Pelvic Pain - Cause

Female pelvic pain is typically caused by a medical condition involving the reproductive organs, urinary tract, lower gastrointestinal tract, or muscles of the abdominal wall. Some causes are always short-term (acute), and others can become long-lasting (chronic) unless successfully treated. Sometimes, no cause can be found.

Pain with no known cause

Experts don't yet understand all possible causes of pelvic pain, especially when it has become chronic. So even after a lot of testing, many women never find out the reason for their pain.

One reason might be what's called neuropathic pain. Long after a disease or injury has healed, nerves can continue firing pain signals. This is thought to be caused by an overloading of the nervous system by extreme or long-lasting pain.

Not finding a cause doesn't mean that there isn't one or that there's no possible treatment.

Problems with the reproductive system that can cause chronic pain

Other problems in the pelvic area that can cause chronic pain

  • Scar tissue (adhesions) inside the pelvis and belly. This is usually caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, radiation treatment, or surgery.
  • Bowel problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Urinary tract problems, such as bladder inflammation.
  • Various cancers that occur in the pelvic area.
  • Muscle spasm or pain in the lower abdominal wall muscles. This is sometimes linked to past surgery in that area.
  • Pelvic congestion syndrome. This is a problem caused when veins in the pelvis don't drain properly and get enlarged or twisted as a result.

Physical or sexual abuse

Although the link isn't well understood, past or current abuse is strongly linked to chronic pelvic pain.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 30, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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