If you are a man or woman who is experiencing pain in the region below your belly button and above your thighs, then you have what is known as ‘pelvic pain’
So What’s Wrong With Me?
Pain in the pelvic region could be a sign of issues with your urinary tract, reproductive organs, or digestive tract. And while some of the causes of suffering a painful pelvis are not anything to be alarmed about, others are concerning enough to necessitate a visit to a hospital or specialist as soon as possible .
So now take a look through the following list to pick out your symptoms, so that you can get a rough idea as to what may be causing your pelvic pain:
Number 1: UTI (Urinary tract infection)
This describes an extremely common bacterial infection somewhere along your urinary tract. It is due to tiny microbes that cannot be spotted without a medical microscope. Of note: while the majority of urinary tract infections are due to bacteria, some are generated by fungi, and in rare instances, by viruses. Look out for pain in and around the pelvic bone; and pain in the middle of your pelvis. Further UTI symptoms comprise:
• Needing to urinate as quickly as possible
• A feeling of pain or burning whilst urinating
• Strong-smelling, bloody or cloudy urine
• If the infection is in your kidneys, then you will experience back and side pain .
Number 2: STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections)
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea (which mainly affect young people), are both bacterial infections which are passed on during sexual relations. While a large percentage of people will not have symptoms, men can experience pain in their testicles, and females can have pain in their pelvis, particularly when they defecate or pass urine .
Other chlamydia symptoms include:
• Discharge from the penis or vagina
• Painful sex
• Swelling or tenderness in the testicles (males)
• Bleeding, pain or discharge from the rectum
• Pus in the urine
• Burning or pain whilst urinating
• Urinating more frequently .
Other gonorrhoea symptoms include:
• Abnormal discharge from the vagina (females)
• Bleeding between menses (females)
• Bleeding, pain or discharge from the rectum .
Number 3: Hernia
This condition describes an achy or painful bulge. It comes about when tissue or an organ is pushed out of place via a weak patch in the muscles of your thigh, chest or abdomen. It normally disappears when you lie down, and if you are not lying down, you may be able to push the bulge back into place. The pain becomes worse when you lift something, bend over, laugh or cough .
Further symptoms comprise:
• Pressure or weakness around the area of the hernia
• A feeling of heaviness where the bulge has come up
• Swelling and pain around the testicles (males) .
Number 4: Appendicitis
The appendix is a finger-shaped narrow pouch which projects out from the large intestine. Appendicitis comes on suddenly, and the pain can be very harsh as the appendix becomes inflamed and fills up with pus. Generally speaking, the pain is centred in the lower right section of the abdomen. However, it can also begin around the bellybutton and travel to the lower right area of the abdomen. Sneezing, coughing or deep breathing, makes the pain worse .
Other symptoms involve:
• A swollen belly
• Stomach discomfort
• A loss of appetite
• Feeling the need to be sick
• Diarrhoea or constipation
• Low-grade fever .
Number 5: IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
This condition describes various symptoms such as pain and cramps coming from the intestines. (Note: it is not inflammatory disease which generates chronic inflammation throughout the digestive tract). IBS sufferers usually find that if they pass stool, the cramps and pain are not as bad .
Other Irritable bowel symptoms comprise:
• Mucus in the stool
• Passing gas
• Bloating .
Number 6: Kidney Infection or Kidney Stones
A kidney infection can come about if bacteria enters your kidneys. When this occurs, you can experience pain in your groin, lower abdomen, side, and back. Of note: it is possible to have a kidney infection and kidney stones, simultaneously .
Other kidney stone symptoms comprise:
• Pain, or a feeling of burning whilst urinating
• Needing to urinate more frequently than usual
• Foul-smelling or cloudy urine
• Blood in the urine. (This could be a brown, red or pink colour) .
Kidney stones (which are normally more prevalent in men), are generated due to minerals such as uric acid or calcium, clumping together in the urine and forming hard rocks. In most cases, the kidney stones only cause symptoms when they begin to travel through the small tubes that transport urine between the kidneys and the bladder (ureters). As the latter are rigid and small, they cannot broaden to enable the stones to pass through, and this is what brings on the pain. Moreover, the tubes generate a reaction, and clamp the stone to try to squeeze it out, thus inducing a painful spasm. Further, if a stone obstructs the urine flow, then it can cause severe pain if it backs up into the kidney. Generally, the pain begins in your back and side, however, it can spread to the groin and lower belly. In addition, you may feel some pain when you urinate .
Number 7: Cystitis
This condition describes an inflamed bladder, which causes pressure or pain in the lower belly and pelvis. In most instances, it is derived from a urinary tract infection .
Other symptoms incorporate:
• A low-grade fever
• Strong-smelling or cloudy urine
• Blood in the urine
• Only being able to urinate small amounts at a time
• Pain, or a feeling of burning whilst urinating
• A powerful urge to urinate .
Number 8: Scar-like Tissue
Also known as adhesions, these refer to bands of tissue which are similar to scar tissue. Their function is to join the tissues and abdominal organs together. Generally speaking, they form after you have had abdominal surgery. While symptoms from these adhesions are not always inevitable, when they do arise, feeling pain in the belly region is the one that is most reported. Further, while these adhesions are not generally problematic, should the intestines stick together, and become blocked, severe abdominal pain and other or symptoms can result . These include:
• A loud sound coming from the bowels
• A swollen belly
• Feeling sick
• Vomiting .
Number 9: Entrapment of the Pudendal Nerve
This particular nerve generates feeling in the urethra, anus and genitals. Further, if you have undergone surgery, had an injury, or there has been some form of growth, then this can generate pressure on the pudendal nerve in the region where it exits or enters the pelvis. Nerve pain derives from pudendal nerve entrapment. This generates a sensation of deep aching pain or an electric shock in the genitals. It is ameliorated when lying down or standing up, and exacerbated when sitting down .
Further symptoms involve:
• Erectile dysfunction (in males)
• Numbness in the vulva (in females)
• Numbness in the scrotum and penis (in males)
• Experiencing pain during bowel movements
• An urgent or frequent need to pass urine
• Difficulty getting the flow of urine to start .
For more detailed information on Men’s Pelvic Pain, please visit: Men’s Pelvic Pain
For more extensive information Women’s Pelvic pain, please visit: Women’s Pelvic pain
. The Mayo Clinic (2020).