Print this topic

HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Sudden pelvic pain in women

Pelvic pain is pain in the area below your tummy button and above your legs. Sudden, or acute, pelvic pain can be caused by many different things.


If you know or think you are pregnant, and get sudden pelvic pain, get urgent medical attention. You might have an ectopic pregnancy or you might be having a miscarriage.

Seek urgent medical attention if you have sudden, severe pelvic pain and feel unwell, even if you are not pregnant.

Causes of sudden pelvic pain in women

tummy pain Many things can cause sudden pelvic pain, such as:

Diagnosing causes of sudden pelvic pain

Your doctor will ask you questions about the pain, such as where and when the pain occurs, how severe it is, and how long it lasts. They will ask about any other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, weight loss, fever as well as your past medical history. They will examine you and may perform an pelvic examination.

Your doctor may ask for a urine sample to check for infection. If you have not yet reached menopause, you will have a pregnancy test. If it's possible that you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) you may need to have some swabs to check for these. You may also need a blood test to check for infection.

Sometimes you might need an ultrasound scan of your pelvis.

Sometimes, despite all these tests, doctors will not be able to find out what has caused your pain.

Treating sudden pelvic pain

Treatment will depend on the cause of the pain. Your doctor will talk to you about this.

On the next page: Long-lasting pelvic pain in women

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2021.


See also:

Understanding your vaginal swab results

Page reference: 278866

Review key: HIPPA-13407