Pelvic pain

Pelvic pain is felt in the lower part of your tummy. The type of pain varies, and it may be sudden and severe (acute pelvic pain) or last 6 months or longer (chronic pelvic pain).

Symptoms of pelvic pain

Pelvic pain varies. It may affect a small area around your pelvis (your lower tummy) or the whole area.

Types of pelvic pain include:

  • a sharp, stabbing or burning pain that happens suddenly
  • a pain that comes on slowly but does not go away
  • a dull or heavy ache, or feeling of pressure
  • a twisted or knotted feeling
  • a cramping or throbbing pain, which may come and go
  • pain only when you’re doing something, like exercising, having sex, or peeing

Common causes of pelvic pain

There are lots of causes of pelvic pain. It might be caused by an infection or a condition affecting one of the organs in the pelvic area, such as the bowel or bladder.

Common causes include:

Most causes of pelvic pain are not serious. But there a few conditions that cause pelvic pain and need emergency treatment, such as appendicitis and peritonitis.

But do not self-diagnose – see a GP if you're worried.

Pelvic pain in women

Pelvic pain is more common in women and common causes include:

Rarely it could be something more serious, like an ectopic pregnancy, womb cancer or ovarian cancer.

Pelvic pain in men

Pelvic pain can sometimes be caused by conditions affecting the prostate, such as prostatitis.

See a GP if:

  • pelvic pain does not go away
  • you have been feeling bloated for a while (about 3 weeks)
  • you're losing weight without trying to
  • there's blood in your pee or poo, or an unusual discharge or bleeding from your vagina
  • you have constipation or diarrhoea that does not go away

Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:

You have pelvic pain and:

  • it's severe, getting worse or hurts when you move or touch the area
  • you find it difficult to pee or poo
  • you have pain when peeing or need to pee more than usual
  • you have a very high temperature (you feel hot and shivery)
  • you are pregnant or may be pregnant

You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.

Treatments for pelvic pain

Any treatment for pelvic pain will depend on the cause.

A GP might suggest treatments such as:

They may refer you for tests or to a specialist if they do not know what is causing your pain.