Medically reviewed by Mary Kinsella, D.O., FACOG
When is period pain a sign that something’s wrong?
Cramps during your period are normal — more than half of people with uteruses have some pain during their period. Period cramps come from your uterus releasing chemicals called prostaglandins that cause it to tighten or cramp. But severe pain or pain that disrupts your daily life is not normal. If you have to miss work or skip regular activities because of period pain, you should talk to your medical provider.
Is pain during sex normal?
Pain during sex is common, but it’s not normal. It might be temporary from lack of lubrication or it might happen more often. Either way, pain during sex is a signal that you should talk to your medical provider.
What uterine conditions might cause pelvic pain?
Some conditions of the uterus that can cause pelvic pain include:
- Endometriosis — when the tissue from the lining of your uterus grows outside of it
- Fibroids — very common, noncancerous tumors that grow on the wall of the uterus
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) — an infection of the female reproductive system
- Ovarian cysts — fluid-filled sacs that form on an ovary
Can stress worsen pelvic pain?
Yes: Stress, anxiety and trauma can be the cause of pelvic pain or make it worse. Your body often tenses up when you’re going through emotional or mental stress, and the result can be tightness and pain in your pelvic region.
What type of doctor can help me find the cause of my pelvic pain?
Pelvic pain can be felt anywhere from your belly button to the top part of your legs, so the cause could be coming from your reproductive, digestive or urinary system. Your medical provider might refer you to a gastroenterologist, gynecologist or urologist to help determine the cause of your pelvic pain. Be as clear and detailed as you can when describing your symptoms to your provider so they can refer you to the right specialist.
When should I seek help?
If your pelvic pain is new, sudden and severe; disrupts your daily life; or gets worse over time, you should seek help from your medical provider. It’s common to think that pain is a normal part of life for people with female biology, but it’s not. So if you feel dismissed by your medical provider, be sure to trust your gut and get a second opinion.