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Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain is pain that occurs in the lowest part of the abdomen, below the belly button. It is a symptom and not a disease.

While men can and do experience it, chronic pelvic pain is much more common in women.

It’s normal to feel some pelvic pain related to your menstrual cycle. But if your pelvic pain is so severe or long-lasting that it interferes with everyday life, you should see a doctor. 

Pelvic pain: what you should know

  • The most common causes of chronic pelvic pain in women include the following:
    • Endometriosis
    • Uterine fibroids (non-cancerous tumors of the uterus)
    • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
    • Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease
    • Past injury or surgery
  • Other common causes of pelvic pain in men and women include gastrointestinal conditions:
  • Pelvic pain can cause pain during intercourse and other types of sexual dysfunction in men and women.
  • Researchers have found that depression is linked to pelvic pain, but the precise relationship between the two conditions is unknown.

How can I get help for pelvic pain?

See your primary care doctor if you have pain in your lower abdomen that interferes with your day-to-day activities.

This type of pain has many possible causes. At Rush, your doctor will conduct a physical exam and review your medical history to determine whether further tests are necessary.

Care for pelvic pain at Rush

Depending on your diagnosis, your treatment for pelvic pain might include one or more of the following:

  • Physical therapy: Physical therapists at Rush can work with you to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and help protect against problems that often accompany pelvic pain, such as constipation and fecal incontinence.
  • Medications: You might benefit from medications to help calm your pain or address underlying gynecologic or gastrointestinal problems that are causing it.
  • Dietary counseling: If you have a gastrointestinal condition such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), dietitians at Rush can help you plan healthy meals that might help relieve your symptoms.
  • Psychological counseling: If your doctor thinks that depression or another psychological problem might be contributing to your condition, he or she might refer to you a psychologist.
  • Surgery: Most people who have pelvic pain do not end up needing surgery. But if you have a severe endometriosis, fibroids or ulcerative colitis, surgeons at Rush can perform surgical procedures that might help.

Why choose Rush for pelvic pain care

  • Rush has a program for abdominal and pelvic health problems that can address the full spectrum of issues related to pelvic pain. The program has a coordinator who will help you navigate the multiple specialists you might need to see to find relief.

Departments and programs that treat this condition