Your pelvic area is beneath your belly button in the lower abdomen. If you are experiencing discomfort in this part of your body, the cause may be hard to diagnose because there are so many possibilities. If you are having pelvic pain with coughing, you should see your doctor right away for an exam. Depending on your symptoms, your exam may include blood and imaging tests.
Causes of Pelvic Pain When Coughing
1. Ovarian Cysts
Most women will experience ovarian cysts during their lifetime. The cysts are sacs filled with fluid found in either your ovaries or attached outside it. They typically resolve on their own and are not dangerous. However, if you have severe pain in your pelvic area that comes on suddenly, you should get medical attention right away. If you are also experiencing fever, rapid breathing, weakness, vomiting or dizziness, go to the emergency room.
2. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Considered a potentially dangerous illness, pelvic inflammatory disease is a condition which involves the infection of the cervix, ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes. Also referred to as PID, it is a bacterial disease that is transmitted sexually. Symptoms include pelvic pain when coughing and possibly nausea, fever or vomiting. PID can result in tubal ectopic pregnancies or infertility, especially if not diagnosed and treated early.
3. Ectopic Pregnancy
Sometimes a fertilized egg will attach itself outside the uterus. When this occurs it is called an ectopic pregnancy. Often this type of pregnancy happens inside the fallopian tubes, but can also occur in the ovaries. A woman does not usually know the condition exists until a rupture, but sometimes before the burst she may have pelvic pain and a bloated abdomen. While some ectopic pregnancies detach on their own and are expelled, oftentimes surgery is needed.
4. Round Ligament Pain
If you are pregnant and start to feel pain on the sides of your stomach, you may be experiencing round ligament pain. Do not panic. It is common for a woman to feel this discomfort in her second trimester. Round ligaments are located in the pelvis and go around the uterus. As your unborn baby grows, your uterus will expand and stretch the ligaments. To help compensate, they thicken so they can continue to support your uterus. Sudden pelvic pain when coughing or changing positions may actually be round ligament pain.
If your appendix gets a bacterial infection and becomes inflamed, you have an illness called appendicitis. Left untreated, it can become a life-threatening condition as your appendix fills with pus and risks of rupture rises. Pelvic pain is the most common symptom. Usually, it intensifies very quickly and is worse when you move suddenly, cough or stretch.
6. Bowel Obstruction
Your bowel can become obstructed when a scar forms in your colon or small intestine after surgery, trauma or infection. Signs of an obstruction include tenderness in the pelvic area, pain around your belly button, abdominal pain with coughing, nausea, severe constipation, stomach cramps or vomiting.
When cells usually found in your uterus grow outside of it on organs like the bladder, ovaries, and rectum, you have a condition called endometriosis. Signs of this disorder include:
- Ovulation pain
- Pain with sex
- Pelvic pain with menstrual pain
- Period cramps
- Pain with urination or bowel movements
- Bloated abdomen
- Rectal bleeding during menstrual period
- Lower and mid back pain
If you develop infected small blisters or protruding sacs in your colon or large intestine, it is referred to diverticulitis. The inflamed areas are located in the lining of the organs and can affect you for as little as a couple hours to as long as 3-4 days. Signs of this condition may include:
- Abdominal swelling
- Pelvic pain when coughing
- Abdominal pain with movement
- Bloated sensation
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
When to See a Doctor
Anytime you have sudden and extreme pelvic pain, you should get medical attention right away. It is important to see your doctor for proper diagnosis of your condition, especially if it interrupts your daily routine or keeps getting worse.