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What are the symptoms of pelvic pain?

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The symptoms of pelvic pain vary from woman to woman. Pelvic pain can be severe enough that it interferes with normal activities, such as going to work, exercising, or having sex.

Women describe pelvic pain in many ways. Pelvic pain can be steady, or it can come and go. It can be a sharp and stabbing pain felt in a specific spot, or a dull pain that is spread out. Some women have pain that occurs only during their menstrual periods. Some women feel pain when they need to use the bathroom, and some feel pain when lifting something heavy. Some women have pain in the vulva (the external genitals), which is called vulvodynia (pronounced vuhl-voe-DIN-ee-yuh), during sex or when inserting a tampon. 1,2


  1. International Pelvic Pain Society. (2008). Pelvic pain assessment form. Retrieved April 30, 2012, from http://www.pelvicpain.org/docs/resources/forms/History-and-Physical-Form-English.aspx External Web Site Policy (PDF - 224 KB) [top]
  2. UCSF Medical Center. (2012). Pelvic pain. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from http://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/pelvic_pain External Web Site Policy [top]

Last Updated Date: 11/30/2012
Last Reviewed Date: 04/12/2013