ZocdocAnswersWhat causes women to feel a throbbing pain in the side?

Question

What causes women to feel a throbbing pain in the side?

I am a middle aged woman who used to have irregular pain while having intercourse with my husband. Now it seems like that pain is half-there all the time, and I don't know how to help it. Is this an OBGYN problem? The pain is in my lower side, above my hip.

Answer

There are many possible causes of this pain. Several of them are OB / GYN problems, and the likelihood that this is OB / GYN is perhaps raised by the fact that you have a history of pain with intercourse. A very common causes of low throbbing pelvic pain and pain with intercourse in premenopausal women is endometriosis, caused when the endometrial lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. The pain is usually worse with the period, and can be relieved usually by contraceptives and other medications, although sometimes an operation is required. Another common cause would be a sexually transmitted infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, especially if there is vaginal discharge or burning or pain with urination. These can be diagnosed with simple tests and easily treated with antibiotics. Other non OB / GYN problems that can cause this pain would include constipation, which can often cause diffuse, cramping abdominal or pelvic pain. Another possibility would be hip arthritis, usually a degenerative condition brought on with age, and characterized by dull aching pain that is worse with walking and that can feel as if it is in the pelvis but also causes pain in the buttocks sometimes. Regardless, it sounds like the best first step is to have a good exam by your internist or OB / GYN doctor to determine if further workup or treatment is needed.

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