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Pelvic Pain

What You Should Know About Pelvic Pain


Updated June 13, 2014

Sooner or later, as women, most of us experience some degree of pelvic pain. How we respond to pelvic pain varies; some women are more bothered by pain than others. If pelvic pain is severe enough to disrupt your daily life for either a few days a month or for longer amounts of time, if pelvic pain increases overtime, or if you have experienced a recent increase in pain, you should talk with your health care provider to determine the cause.

There can be many causes of pelvic pain, so be prepared for a long diagnostic process. Many times there is more than one reason for pelvic pain and it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact source. It may be necessary for your physician to consider other parts of your body when determining the cause of pelvic pain. Pelvic pain can be caused by problems in the digestive or urinary systems, as well as the reproductive organs.

Keeping a Pain Journal

Keeping a pain journal can help your doctor pinpoint the cause and lets your provider see any patterns that may be associated with your pelvic pain.

To help your physician diagnose the cause of your pelvic pain, it's important that you can answer a few questions:
  1. When did the pain begin?
  2. Is it constant pain, or does it come and go?
  3. How long does the pain last?
  4. How severe is the pain?
  5. Is it a sharp stabbing pain or a dull ache?
  6. Is the pain always in the same place?
  7. When do you typically experience pelvic pain?

In your pain journal you should also note:

  • The time of day when pain occurs.
  • The time as it occurs during your monthly cycle.
  • Whether pain occurs before, during, or after:
    • Eating
    • Urination
    • Bowel movements
    • Sexual intercourse
    • Physical activity
    • Sleeping


Pelvic Pain. ACOG Education Pamphlet AP099. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp099.cfm. Accessed 08/26/09.

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