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Pelvic pain

Diagnosis of pelvic pain

It is not uncommon for someone experiencing pelvic pain to have more than one underlying cause. You and your doctor will work together to uncover the cause and find the most appropriate course of action.

It is not challenging to diagnose pelvic pain, but finding the cause(s) can be difficult. Your doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical and pelvic exam. They may order additional tests or refer you to see another specialist.

Some imaging may be necessary to get a clearer picture of what is going on.

Your providers at Dignity Health will help you get to the bottom of your pain, and treat it.


Treatment for pelvic pain depends on the cause. Painful conditions connected to the uterus, such as fibroids and endometriosis, are treated much differently than pain connected to the digestive system, such as IBS. Other factors that influence treatment are your overall health, age, lifestyle, and medical history.

Your treatment options may include:

  • Lifestyle changes. Improving overall health by making changes to your physical activity and diet may improve pelvic pain.
  • Medication. Medications that may be used to treat pelvic pain include antibiotics, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, pain medication, and hormone treatments.
  • Physical therapy. Physical therapists use techniques such as massage and strengthening exercises to improve pelvic pain.
  • Counseling. Living with pain is a challenge. One-on-one or group counseling sessions can help you cope with chronic pelvic pain.
  • Surgery. Doctors often use surgery to treat pelvic pain caused by endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and adhesions.

Through personalized diagnosis and treatment, Dignity Health is committed to helping you find relief.


Recovering from pelvic pain will vary among people and diagnoses. The presence of pelvic pain does not necessarily mean that you will have issues with fertility. Some conditions, however, are associated with fertility challenges. If you are diagnosed with endometriosis, pelvic adhesions, or uterine fibroids, there may be an increased chance of difficulty becoming pregnant.

Depending on the way you and your doctor decide to treat your pelvic pain, you may have difficulty getting pregnant. For example, hormonal birth control is often used to treat endometriosis, which will limit the chance of pregnancy.

Some people find that they can control their pain with over-the-counter pain medications or exercise, while others will need more invasive interventions like surgery.

The goal of treatment is always to improve your quality of life. This is done by reducing your symptoms.

In more extreme cases, pain rehabilitation programs may assist your return to a pain-free life.

When should I seek emergency attention for pelvic pain?

Most pelvic pain is not indicative of a time-sensitive emergency. There are, however, some symptoms that are cause for concern.

You should call your medical provider if you experience any of the following:

  • Sharp pelvic pain that comes on quickly and is severe
  • Pelvic pain that makes it hard to stand upright
  • Unexplained blood in your urine or stool
  • Pain accompanied by a fever
  • Pelvic pain while you are pregnant or if you think you were possibly pregnant in the last six months
  • Pain centralized in the lower right of your abdomen

These symptoms could indicate an ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy), a ruptured ovarian cyst, or appendicitis. All of these conditions should be immediately evaluated by a medical professional

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.