MSP Sex Q&A: Why Do I Have Pelvic Pain, Even After Losing Weight?

Hey Dr. Debby! I am eighteen years old. I’m writing you for several reasons. One: I loved seeing you on the Tyra show. It gave me courage to do
something; go to the gynocologist. I knew that eventually I would have to go because I know that I have an issue….which brings me to the other reason as to why I’m writing. For about five years now, I’ve had a constant discomfort in my pelvic region.  It’s never been painful; just uncomfortable. I figured that the discomfort had been caused by being overweight, and since I had lost a lot of my baby fat I thought that I didn’t have anything to worry about.  It wasn’t until my senior year (just this past year; 2006-07) that I finally thought of looking online and thought that maybe I had endometriosis as I have some of the symptoms I’ve seen online (Lower back pain, painful mentral cramps, sometimes it hurts when I pee, etc). I really hate to bother you because all I have to do is call a local OB/GYN and set up an appoitment, but I just wanted your opinion.  I’m really scared of what it could be and I’m nervous about the whole Gyno visit.  Thank you.

Thanks for your question. Even though I know you’d like a concrete answer to your question, the truth is that you really do need to make an appointment for a gyn exam in order to find out what might be causing your pelvic pain. It is possible that you have endometriois (it is a relatively common condition) but it is also possible that you have something like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can be caused by an untreated sexually transmissible infection (STI) such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. Then again, there are a whole host of possible causes of your discomfort and other symptoms.

As for the gyn exam, many young women feel nervous or afraid about going to the gyn. Really, though, gyn exams aren’t nearly as bad as they might seem! If you are worried about it, you can bring a friend, partner, or relative with you into the exam room (or just with you to the office, and then have them wait in the waiting room for you). Let your healthcare provider know that it is your first gyn visit and that you are worried, and he or she will likely be very gentle with you anyway and may even explain what it is that they are doing during the exam. Tell your healthcare provider about any discomfort, pain or tenderness that you feel in day-to-day life or during the exam and be honest with him or her about your sexual history (it can help them figure out what types of tests they might want to run to make sure you’re healthy).

I’ve been seeing the same ob/gyn for 9 years and he STILL explains everything that he is doing and why. I like it! We also chat about sports, work and research – believe it or not, I actually LIKE going to my ob/gyn… and it is the only way to make sure that your gynecological health is in good shape, whether or not you are sexually active.

Thanks for writing to me and good luck at the ob/gyn. Please feel free to write again if you have other questions.

Do you have a question about sex, orgasms, lasting longer, pleasing your partner, dating, relationships or breaking up? Email – your confidentiality will be respected (we will NOT print your name or email address).

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at