Abdominal and Pelvic Pain Specialist Q&A
Abdominal and pelvic pain can be symptoms of a variety of underlying conditions, ranging from digestive issues to reproductive health issues. If you are suffering from persistent bloating, unusual bloating, or bleeding, it is important to visit a healthcare professional for an accurate and quick diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please contact us or book an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you at Tibbetts St Portland, Stark Street Portland and Tigard, OR.
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There is no one simple answer as to what causes abdominal pain. Several internal organ structures and systems lie within the abdomen, performing an array of life-sustaining processes. For this reason, abdominal pain can be caused by many things.
Depending on the type of pain you are experiencing and where it comes from, a doctor can determine what further testing is needed to conclude a diagnosis. Abdominal pain is often rooted in the digestive, urinary, or reproductive systems, such as constipation, urinary tract infection, and ovarian cysts.
In some situations, pelvic or abdominal pain signals the need for immediate medical attention. Appendicitis is a condition in which the appendix, a small, protruding pocket of the large intestine, becomes inflamed. This condition is considered a medical emergency, and treatment requires surgical removal of the appendix as soon as possible before it ruptures.
Most patients with appendicitis report pain near their navel (belly button) that migrates to the lower right quadrant of the abdomen, where the appendix is located. They describe this pain as intense, sharp, or cramp-like, which worsens with movement. Soon after the pain begins, nausea and vomiting are likely to occur.
The stomach may become bloated, and a fever could spike. If you are experiencing these symptoms, visit the emergency department and do not eat, drink, or use any medications or remedies, as they can do more harm than good. Similarly, acute pancreatitis, the inflammation of the pancreas, can also become a life-threatening condition and is signaled by sudden, intense pain in the upper middle abdomen.
Usually, this condition is linked to gallstones or alcoholism. In the case of long-term alcohol abuse, the pain will likely build over a few days. If the condition does not result from gallstones, non-surgical treatments are used. In women, ectopic pregnancies are always fatal to the fetus and can threaten the mother’s life.
In this condition, an egg is fertilized and begins to develop outside of the uterus, which can lead to a rupture of the fallopian tubes and blood loss. You should seek medical treatment if you are pregnant and feel pain in the pelvic region, coupled with feeling faint, dizzy, or nauseated. Generally, if you ever think of sudden and intense abdominal pain, it is best to seek emergency medical help.
Pelvic pain is a symptomatic experience in which pain is felt in the lower abdomen, where the pelvis is. The organs in this area include the bladder and lower ureters, the rectum, some of the colon, and the anal canal, in addition to the reproductive organs. This consists of the female’s uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and cervix. In males, these organs are the prostate, ejaculatory ducts, seminal vesicles, and vas deferens.
For this reason, abdominal pain can be related to several internal structures and organ processes within the digestive system, urinary system, reproductive system, or more. Starting with the digestive system, you’ll likely experience some pain with bouts of diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, indigestion, heartburn, and gas. Infrequent occurrences of these three conditions are not generally a cause for concern, though they become an issue when they happen more regularly.
Many disorders of the digestive system can cause these symptoms, like dietary intolerances, stomach flu, food poisoning, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Celiac Disease, and diverticulitis. In the urinary system, urinary tract infections (UTIs) or kidney stones can cause pelvic pain. In women, pelvic pain may be caused by menstruation, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), etc. In men, one of the leading causes of pelvic pain is prostatitis.
It is generally recommended that you seek medical attention for pain if it is intense, persistent, or of an unknown cause. For example, if you are experiencing abnormally severe pain and it is impacting your ability to perform daily activities like working or sleeping, you should see a physician to determine the cause of the pain if you have pain that is unwavering with over-the-counter (OTC) pain-relieving medications or lasts longer than four days to a week with no other accompanying symptoms.
This is especially true if the pain is constant or radiates to other areas of your body. People seeking medical attention for pelvic or abdominal pain often don’t know why it is happening. They may initially think it was something terrible they ate or the stomach flu, but they grow concerned when the pain doesn’t disappear.
It is best to see a doctor for these concerns, as they have the education, experience, and tools to diagnose a condition or rule out other concerns. Additionally, if your abdominal pain coincides with signs of infection, you should seek urgent or emergent care.
At Columbia Clinic Urgent Care, our board-certified doctors offer numerous services to manage your pain and improve your quality of life. If you are experiencing abdominal or chronic pain elsewhere, please do not hesitate to reach out to our clinic; we are always eager to hear from new patients. For more information, please contact us or book an appointment online. We serve patients from Tibbetts St Portland, Milwaukie OR, Oak Grove OR, Stark Street Portland, Fairview OR, Happy Valley OR, Gladstone OR, Cedar Mill OR, Tigard OR, Lake Oswego OR, Tualatin OR, Oregon City OR.