Lower Abdominal Pain – Associations and Risks

Lower Abdominal Pain – Associations and Risks

The pelvis is the name given to the area that is right below your belly button but above your thighs. It is common to experience pelvic pain in routine but knowing the reason behind your pelvic pain is more important.

All genders are susceptible to get this pelvic pain. Some reasons can cause this pain. The pelvic area is a center of many organs. The pain could be a problem with the digestive tract, reproductive organs or a UTI.

In women, menstrual cramps are a reason to get severe pelvic pain. But it is not something to worry. This type of pelvic pain usually goes away on its own. It doesn’t require a visit to the doctor. Only a standard painkiller also works.

If you are not sure what is causing pain in your pelvis, you should look for the symptoms. Only with the help of signs, it is possible to diagnose the reason for pelvic pain. This article is a complete guide to the most common reasons for pelvic pain.

What Causes Pain In the Pelvis?

There is not a single factor causing pelvic pain. In fact, it can even be an underlying symptom of some other health condition you might have. Following are some of the issues that cause pain in the pelvis:

Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

The bacteria mostly cause urinary tract infections. This track includes all excretory organs including urethra, kidney, ureters, and bladder. Getting a UTI is common. They are not very harmful and are easily treatable with medicines.

Urinary tract infections typically cause pelvic pain. The pain feels to be in the middle part of the pelvis. Other signs of UTI linked pelvic pain are as follows.

  • Frequent urination
  • Burning urination
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Kidney pain
  • Fever
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

Sexually transmitted diseases are also caused by a particular type of pathogenic bacteria. For example, gonorrhea, chlamydia, etc. Chlamydia is so common that it nearly affects 3 million people in the USA.

Sexually transmitted diseases are usually asymptomatic, but in women, they may cause pain in the pelvis. Pelvic pain increases more while urinating. In men, this pelvic pain also radiates till testicles. Other symptoms are;

  • Vaginal discharge in women
  • Irregular bleeding between periods in women
  • Rectal discharge, pain or bleeding
  • Painful urination
  • Excessive urination
  • Burning sensation while urination
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Inflammation of testicles in men
A hernia

A hernia is a medical condition, which arises when an organ pushes through a weaker spot inside your body. It usually affects the muscles of the abdomen, chest or thighs. The result is the creation of an extremely painful bulge. This pain gets worse when you perform some physical activities like coughing, walking, lifting, bending, laughing, etc.

Growing a hernia in the abdomen can also cause severe pelvic pain. Other signs in this condition are;

  • Heavy feeling on the bulge
  • Feeling pressure at a bulge
  • Swelling and pain

RELATED: What Are the Symptoms Of Hiatal Hernia? 


The appendix is a natural part of the human body which is a tiny tube attached to the large intestine. Appendicitis is the medical condition when this tube swells and causes extreme pain.

The location of appendix increases chances that the patient will be having pelvic pain too. The pain starts at once and becomes severe. Common symptoms of appendicitis linked pelvic pain are as follows.

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Inflammation
  • Fever
Kidney stones

Kidney infections mainly kidney stones also cause pelvic pain. The stones inside the kidney are formed when calcium or uric acid accumulates and makes a mass. It affects both men and women, but it is more common in men.

Kidney stones are asymptomatic unless they change their place. The pain of kidney stones is radiating, and pelvic pain is just one part of it. Other signs of kidney stones and other infections are as below.

  • Blood in urine
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Weight loss

Cystitis is a medical condition, which means inflammation of the bladder. Bacteria or a secondary disease to urinary tract infections usually causes it. A major reason for pelvic pain is cystitis. Other symptoms of this infection include;

  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • A feeling of a fuller bladder
  • Urinating less than average
  • Blood in urine
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Low-grade fever
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Pelvic pain is not necessarily caused by a problem in the excretory system. Sometimes it is due to the digestive issues. For example, in the case of irritable bowel syndrome, the stomach feels all cramped. Sometimes it radiates a pain, which feels the same as pelvic pain.

The symptoms start to reduce when your bowel movement is improved. Other symptoms include the following.

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Another condition that causes pelvic pain is abdominal adhesion. Adhesions are the bands of scar-like tissues, which make the organs, and tissues from the abdomen to adhere to each other. It is more likely to affect you after surgery.

Adhesions don’t show any symptoms than belly pain, which gradually gets worse. It becomes a pelvic pain, but often the patient cannot locate the origin of the pain.

Other than this, more symptoms that may show up are as follows.

  • Sharp pulling sensation
  • Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling of belly
  • Constipation
  • Irregular bowel movement

Mittelschmerz is the name of the middle pain. It is a pain, which feels between the lower abdomen and pelvis. It only hits women when they are ovulating. Ovulation is the natural process when an egg is released from the fallopian tube, and it’s the mid-time between your two menstrual cycles.

The pelvic pain in mittelschmerz also shows;

  • Pain in only one side of the abdomen
  • Sharp sensation
  • Cramps

It may appear for minutes to hours. Also, the side of this pain may change every month. Unexpected vaginal bleeding or discharge may even show up. It is not something dangerous, but if the pain gets uncontrollable, you need to see a physician.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstrual cramps

Pelvic pain is sometimes due to premenstrual syndrome and menstrual cramps in women. It is normal to feel cramps in the abdomen before and during menstruation every month. It is a very discomforting stage, which is due to hormonal changes and uterus contractions.

These cramps are usually mild, but if they get worse, women will feel a sharp pain in the pelvis. Some other signs of this condition are;

  • Sore breasts
  • A bloated feeling
  • Mood swings
  • Different food cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
 Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic pain is mainly due to pelvic inflammatory disease in women. It is a bacterial infection, which affects ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. It is more likely to affect women when gonorrhea and chlamydia already hit them.

The pelvic inflammatory disease shows symptoms as;

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Painful intercourse
  • Painful urination
  • Fever

Apart from these conditions, there are more, which can cause pelvic pain. Pelvic pain is not itself a disease, but it is usually a sign of an underlying condition.

You have to check your symptoms and relate them to the most relevant reason. However, a doctor can only make the actual diagnosis.

If the condition persists and pain gets worse, it is the time that you need to go to your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Hilary Jensen

Hilary is a Food Science and Nutrition graduate with specialization in diet planning and weight loss. She enjoys reading and writing on Food, Nutrition, Diet, Weight Loss, and General Health.

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