Persistent or recurrent pelvic pain

If you've had pelvic pain for six months or morethat either comes and goes or is continuous, it's known as chronic pelvic pain. Chronic pelvic pain is more intense than ordinary period pain and lasts longer. It affects around one in six women.

See your GP if you have chronic pelvic pain. They'll investigate the cause and arrange any necessary treatment.

Common causes of chronic pelvic pain

The most common causes of chronic pelvic pain are:

  • endometriosis
  • chronic pelvic inflammatory disease a bacterial infection of the womb, fallopian tubes or ovaries, which often follows a chlamydia or gonorrhoea infection and needs immediate treatment with antibiotics
  • irritable bowel syndrome a common, long-term condition of the digestive system that can cause stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation

Less common reasons for chronic pelvic pain

Less common causes of chronic pelvic pain include:


  • recurrent ovarian cyst s fluid or blood-filled sacs that develop onthe ovaries
  • a recurrent urinary tract infection
  • lower back pain
  • prolapse of the womb where the womb slips down from its normal position and usually causes a "dragging" pain
  • adenomyosis endometriosis that affects the muscle of the womb, causing painful, heavy periods
  • fibroids non-cancerous tumours that grow in or around the womb; fibroids can be painful if they twist or deteriorate, but uncomplicated fibroids aren't usually painful
  • chronic interstitialcystitis long-term inflammation of the bladder
  • inflammatory bowel disease a term used to describe two chronic conditions, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease , which affect the gut
  • a hernia where an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the surrounding muscle or tissue wall
  • trapped or damaged nerves in the pelvic area these may cause sharp, stabbing or aching pain in a specific area, which often gets worse with certain movements
Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018