Pelvic Pain in PCOS: Exploring Their Coexistence, Causes, and Treatments

Dinesh Patel
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

Last Updated:

pelvic pain in pcos

Experiencing pelvic pain can cause concern, especially if you suspect it is related to your reproductive health. 

According to an article published in European Medical Journal, chronic pelvis pain affects upto 25% of females of reproductive age.

While pelvic pain is not considered a primary symptom of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), some women with PCOS may experience pelvic pain alongside their other symptoms. 

However, further research is needed to understand pelvic pain’s exact causes and mechanisms in PCOS.

This article aims to comprehensively understand pelvic pain in PCOS, its potential causes, and possible treatment options.

Relationship between pelvic pain and PCOS

While pelvic pain is not considered a primary identifying symptom of PCOS, some women with this condition may experience pelvic pain alongside their other symptoms

The exact relationship between PCOS and pelvic pain is not completely understood and requires further research. 

However, a lack of research does not rule out a  connection, and it is important to acknowledge and investigate the experiences of women reporting pelvic pain concerning PCOS.

Bloating and pelvic pain

Bloating is a commonly reported symptom in women with PCOS.

It is believed that factors such as small cysts on the ovaries, increased Insulin resistance, and hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS may contribute to bloating. 

Pelvic pain can also be caused by bloating, and it is essential to consider the possibility of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a common cause of pelvic pain that often coexists with PCOS.

Fact:
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). Its symptoms include abdominal pain or discomfort and changes in bowel habits like Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas.

Painful periods (Dysmenorrhea)

Painful periods, medically known as Dysmenorrhea, can be experienced by some women with PCOS. 

The irregular ovulation patterns and hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS can contribute to heavy and painful periods. 

When ovulation occurs infrequently, the Endometrium has more time to build up, resulting in more pronounced menstrual pain. 

It is essential to differentiate Dysmenorrhea associated with PCOS from other conditions, such as Endometriosis, which can also cause pelvic pain.

Large ovarian cysts

Doctor consultationSource: Gpoint_Studio
Consult a doctor

While the small cysts associated with PCOS generally do not cause pain or symptoms, women with PCOS can develop larger ovarian cysts. 

It is important to seek medical attention if sudden or dull pelvic pain occurs when it is absent, as it could be a sign of a larger cyst or a more serious condition. 

Although rare, large ovarian cysts can cause pelvic pain, varying from dull and heavy to severe and sharp. 

Pain during sex may also be experienced. Additionally, larger cysts can lead to irregular periods. 

It is important to consult a healthcare provider to rule out serious complications and determine the appropriate action.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

There is a significant and consistent relationship between polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

OHSS is a condition that primarily affects women undergoing fertility treatments, particularly In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). 

OHSS occurs when the ovaries are overstimulated and enlarged, releasing chemicals into the bloodstream.

The pain experienced in OHSS can range from mild discomfort to severe pelvic pain. 

The enlarged ovaries can cause stretching and pressure in the pelvic region, resulting in discomfort and pain.

Warning:
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) can be a life-threatening condition. If the treatment is delayed, OHSS can lead to serious complications, including blood clotting disorders, kidney damage, or ovarian torsion. So, seek medical attention for any concerning symptoms.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition characterized by the growth of Endometrial tissue outside the uterus, commonly causing pelvic pain. 

While Endometriosis and PCOS are different conditions, there is evidence of a relationship between the two. 

Research has shown that many women with PCOS also have Endometriosis. 

The exact reason for this connection has yet to be fully understood. 

Still, hormonal imbalances and the presence of higher levels of Estrogen in women with PCOS may contribute to the development of Endometriosis. 

Women with PCOS who experience pelvic pain and heavy periods should be evaluated for Endometriosis.

Fibroids

Fibroids, or Uterine leiomyomas, are non-cancerous growths in or around the uterus. 

While PCOS does not directly cause Fibroids, some evidence suggests a potential association between the two conditions. 

Women with PCOS are generally less likely to have Fibroids than those without. 

However, it is still possible for women with PCOS to develop Fibroids. 

Pelvic pain can occur in women with Fibroids, typically manifesting as cramping or a dull ache. 

Recommended Article:
To gain in-depth knowledge about Fibroids and PCOS, read PCOS and Fibroids: Understanding and Managing Women’s Health.

Diagnostic tests and evaluations

Ultrasound checkup for regular monitoringSource: undefined_undefined_from_Getty_Images
Ultrasound checkup

To diagnose the cause of pelvic pain in PCOS, your healthcare provider may perform various diagnostic tests and evaluations. 

These may include

  • comprehensive medical history review
  • pelvic examination
  • ultrasound imaging
  • blood tests to assess hormone levels
  • potentially other imaging studies or specialized tests based on individual circumstances

These tests will help identify underlying conditions such as ovarian cysts, Endometriosis, Fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease that may contribute to pelvic pain.

Treatment options for PCOS-related pelvic pain

The treatment of pelvic pain in PCOS addresses the underlying cause of the pain and manages PCOS symptoms effectively. 

Treatment options vary on the specific condition causing the pain, individual circumstances, and desired outcomes. 

Some methods to treat pelvic pain is:

  • Making certain lifestyle modifications can have a positive impact on PCOS-related pelvic pain. These modifications may include adopting a healthy and balanced diet, doing regular physical activity, managing stress levels, and getting sufficient sleep.
  • Weight management, if applicable, is also crucial as losing weight can help improve hormonal balance and alleviate symptoms.
  • Additionally, pain management strategies such as applying heat or cold packs, practicing relaxation techniques, and engaging in gentle exercises or yoga may provide relief from pelvic pain.
  • Medications like Naprosyn 500 may sometimes be prescribed to manage pelvic pain in PCOS. These may include Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) to alleviate pain and inflammation. 
  • Hormonal contraceptives to regulate menstrual cycles and hormone levels, or other medications specific to the underlying condition causing the pain, such as Endometriosis. 
  • Hormonal therapies like Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH) agonists or Progestins may be considered. 
  • In certain situations, surgical interventions may be necessary to treat conditions like ovarian cysts, Endometriosis, or Fibroids.

Conclusion

Pelvic pain is not a primary symptom of PCOS, but many women with PCOS experience pain alongside their other symptoms. 

The potential causes of pelvic pain in PCOS are hormonal imbalances, ovarian cysts, and coexisting conditions like Endometriosis.

Accurate diagnosis and effective treatment must alleviate pelvic pain. 

By working closely with healthcare professionals and adopting appropriate lifestyle changes, women with PCOS can find relief from pelvic pain and improve their overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does PCOS pelvic pain feel like?

The experience of pelvic pain in PCOS can vary from person to person. Some individuals may describe it as a dull, aching pain, while others may experience sharp or cramping sensations. The intensity and duration of the pain can also vary. 

Where is pelvic pain located?

Pelvic pain associated with PCOS is typically felt in the lower abdomen or pelvic region. The pain may be localized to one side or felt on both sides, depending on the underlying cause. It can also radiate to the lower back or thighs. 

What are the warning signs of pelvic pain?

Warning signs of pelvic pain include severe or persistent pain, worsening pain over time, irregular menstrual cycles, pain during intercourse, painful bowel movements or urination, and abnormal vaginal discharge or bleeding.

How many days of pelvic pain is normal?

The duration of pelvic pain can vary, and what is considered normal differs for each individual. Some experience intermittent pain lasting a few hours or days during their menstrual cycle, while others may have chronic pain lasting longer or present throughout the month.

Citations:
WowRxPharmacy uses only high-quality sources while writing our articles. Please read our content information policy to know more about how we keep our content reliable and trustworthy.

More Articles Like This

Leave a Comment

Receive the latest articles in your inbox!