Medically reviewed by Shea O’Neill, M.D.
If you are a servicewoman or a service member with female biology, you may be used to some pain in your pelvic area when you get your period each month. But not all pelvic pain is the same. Some pelvic pain may be a sign that you should call your medical provider to find the right treatment and ease your symptoms.
Here are some important facts you should know:
Pelvic pain can be acute (short-term)
- Generally lasts less than three to six months
- Sometimes, a single reason can be identified as the cause, such as:
- an ovarian cyst (a fluid filled sac in the ovary)
- a urinary tract infection (UTI)
- a pelvic infection
- a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy
Pelvic pain can occur monthly with painful periods and sometimes simple over-the-counter pain relievers don’t work.
Pelvic pain can be chronic (long-term)
- Generally lasts more than three to 6 months
- Occurs outside of your period
- Is not commonly found to have one single reason
- May be a symptom of another medical, physical and/or psychological issue
- Most chronic pelvic pain is caused by severe tightness of pelvic floor muscles
- Very commonly associated with painful intercourse
- Can be associated with endometriosis and uterine fibroids
Symptoms you might have with pelvic pain vary. Call your medical provider if you have any of the following symptoms along with pelvic pain:
- Vaginal bleeding, spotting or discharge
- Pain during your period
- Painful urination
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Bloating or gas
- Bleeding when you poop
- Pain during sex
- Fever or chills
- Pain in the hips or groin area
The treatment and management of pelvic pain will depend on what’s causing it. Chronic pelvic pain treatment usually involves addressing your physical, emotional and reproductive health. Some options your healthcare provider might discuss with you include:
- Medications such as pain relievers or hormone treatments
- Therapies including physical therapy and psychotherapy
- Managing other pain, such as headaches and migraine attacks
- Relaxation techniques like yoga, tai chi and acupressure
Some physical activities can worsen pelvic pain. While life in the military may not always allow you to avoid all of these activities, changing your workout routine to avoid heavy weightlifting or repetitive jumping can ease your symptoms.
If your pelvic pain is new, sudden and severe, disrupts your daily life, or gets worse over time, you should seek help from a healthcare provider. You are the expert in you, so if something doesn’t feel right, talk to a professional.