Norton Children’s Gynecology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, is the only practice serving Louisville, Southern Indiana and Kentucky dedicated to pediatric gynecological care. Our board-certified physicians treat pelvic pain with the sensitivity that children, teens and parents need.
Pelvic pain is common in adolescent girls and young women. The discomfort can range from mild to severe and can be the result of a wide variety of underlying causes. The pain may occur anywhere below the belly button and between the hips and can be acute (short-lived) or chronic (long-lasting).
Pelvic pain can arise from an issue with the reproductive system (such as the ovaries and uterus), intestinal tract or bladder, among other things. Possible causes include:
- Severe menstrual cramps/dysmenorrhea
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Ovarian cysts
- Uterine fibroids
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Urinary tract infection
- Depression, stress or anxiety
Pelvic Pain Symptoms
Pelvic pain can be mild, moderate or severe. It may be steady or come and go. Symptoms may include:
- Intense cramps
- Stabbing or shooting pain
- Dull ache
- Pressure or heaviness within the pelvis
- Pain while having a bowel movement
- Pain when sitting down
Pelvic Pain Diagnosis and Treatment
If the child is experiencing pelvic pain, our team will ask questions about her menstrual cycle, symptoms, family medical history and overall health. Additional tests may include:
- Pelvic exam
- Blood tests
- Urine culture
- Abdominal ultrasound or MRI
The best course of treatment depends on what’s causing the pelvic pain.
If the pain is mild to moderate and fits the typical description of menstrual cramps or ovulation pain, you can likely manage it at home with over-the-counter pain medications. Treatment of some underlying conditions (such as ruptured ovarian cysts and muscular strain) also will focus primarily on pain management.
Other possible treatments include:
- Hormone treatments (such as birth control pills)
- Physical therapy
- Antidepressants (sometimes useful in treating chronic pain, even if depression isn’t present)
If the pain seems to have a gastrointestinal cause, our team will refer the child to a gastroenterologist, who may suggest diet and lifestyle changes or order additional tests.
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