Pelvic pressure is a common female complaint. It may be constant or intermittent, sharp or dull. Often it occurs at particular times, such as during intercourse, urination or menstruation. Pregnancy and its various related conditions is a major cause of pelvic pressure, though women who have never had children can experience symptoms, too. Women should always report pelvic pressure to their doctors. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of pelvic pressure, but it can almost always be treated.
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Towards the end of a pregnancy, the baby usually drops deeper into the pelvis, in anticipation of birth. This is called “lightening,” and in exchange for the increased pelvic pressure, women may find themselves better able to breathe as their lungs have more room. If this happens much earlier than the 37th week of pregnancy, however, women should contact their obstetrician immediately. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it could be a sign of premature labor.
Symphasis Pubic Dysfunction
Symphysis pubic dysfunction, or SPD, is a condition in which a pregnant woman produces an excess of relaxin, the hormone responsible for loosening the joints for birth. This can cause pelvic pressure and distress as ligaments and bones stretch outward. The Pelvic Instability Network reports that 45 percent of pregnant women suffer from SPD. Pelvic support belts can help lighten pelvic pressure that results from SPD.
Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition in which an embryo implants on a fallopian tube rather than in the uterus. As the embryo grows, pelvic pressure and pain increases, usually only on one side. The pain is considerable and must be fixed by surgery before the fallopian tube bursts and bleeds into the abdomen.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is an infection of the lower pelvic region. The increased pelvic pressure of PID often leads women to believe they need to urinate more frequently, even when they have little urine. PID can be easily treated with antibiotics as long as it is caught early. If women wait to report symptoms, the infection can potentially spread to the kidneys.
The presence of non-cancerous fibroids in the uterus may cause pelvic pressure. According to the ACOG, their cause is unknown, though an excess of estrogen is suspected. Because fibroids can grow rapidly and become twisted, they are usually surgically removed before pelvic pressure worsens.