Diagnosing and managing medical conditions in women suffering from lower-abdominal pain can be challenging for physicians. If you are experiencing pelvic pain when you cough or stretch, seek medical attention. There are several possible causes, but your physician will likely perform a physical exam, including pelvic examination and possibly use imaging studies and laboratory tests to properly diagnose your condition.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, also known as PID, is an inflammation of the female reproductive organs -- ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix and uterus -- caused by bacteria, and may cause peritoneal irritation, resulting in pain when you cough or stretch. PID is contracted through sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and usually has no long-term effects. Occasionally, PID may lead to infertility, tubo-ovarian abscess or sepsis, a potentially deadly blood-poisoning. A history of PID may also increase risk for tubal ectopic pregnancies. Additional symptoms including fever, nausea and vomiting are possible, but not always present.
Fluid-filled sacs inside or on your ovaries are called ovarian cysts. If you are a woman, you will most likely have ovarian cysts at some point during your life, and they are usually harmless, disappearing on their own without treatment. If your pain comes on suddenly and is severe, it is cause to seek immediate medical attention. Also, if your symptoms include fever or vomiting, go to your doctor right away. Other symptoms of concern are rapid breathing, cold clamminess, weakness or dizziness -- all indications of an emergency, according to MayoClinic.com.
Ectopic pregnancies are pregnancies not located inside the normal uterus location -- typically in the fallopian tubes, but sometimes on other nearby structures like the ovaries. Symptoms do not usually appear until a rupture occurs, then may include vaginal bleeding, right shoulder pain, urge to defecate, dizziness, fainting and pelvic pain. Prior to rupture, some patients experience pelvic tenderness and abdominal distention. Ectopic pregnancy may require surgery or medical treatment, but some end by naturally detaching and expelling from the body on their own.
Many organs are tightly packed into your abdominal area. When there is a problem with one part of your body, pain may often be felt somewhere else. Other possible causes for pain in or near your ovaries that is aggravated by coughing or stretching are appendicitis, diverticulitis and bowel obstruction, all of which may cause peritoneal irritation. Pelvic pain may also be caused by internal scarring, bladder infections or Endometriosis. Discuss your pain with your doctor to establish the cause and create a treatment plan.