8 Causes of Sudden Stabbing Pelvic Pain in Females.

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Sudden stabbing pain in the pelvic area in females can be due to female pelvic organ conditions (menses, fibroid, ovarian pain, ectopic pregnancy, etc.). Also other causes in the abdominal wall, digestive, and urinary system pain.

Today, you will learn about the features of the common causes of sudden stabbing pelvic pain in females.

Common causes include:

  • Uterine pain: menses, premenstrual syndrome, Intrauterine devices, early pregnancy, and uterine fibroids.
  • Ovarian pain: ovulation pain, ovarian torsion, ovarian inflammation, cysts, or tumor.
  • Fallopian tube pain (especially ectopic pregnancy).
  • Colonic pain: as with acute gastroenteritis, acute diverticulitis, etc.
  • Lower abdominal wall pain: an inguinal hernia and lower abdominal muscle strain.
  • Urinary bladder pain: as with cystitis and urinary bladder stones.
  • Acute appendicitis.

1 . Uterine pain (menses, IUD, fibroid).

The uterus is a common cause of sudden pelvic pain in females. Tost of the causes milder dull pain in the pelvis, However, some conditions may cause a sudden stabbing form of pain.


  • Premenstrual pain due to premenstrual syndrome.
  • Menstrual cramps.
  • Inrauterine Device (IUD).
  • Early pregnancy.
  • Uterine fibroid.

Characters and symptoms:

  • The uterine pain location is often in the central lower abdomen.
  • It is often a dull ache or heaviness in the lower abdomen. But in severe cases, it may cause sudden sharp attacks of pain (especially with IUD).
  • Menstrual pain and premenstrual syndrome are often related to the time of the menses (days before the menses and lasts for the first couple of days of menses).
  • The pain is often increased with intercourse, bowel movement, and urination.
  • Associated symptoms include excessive bleeding during the menses, fatigue, or irregular menses.

The severity or sharpness of pain is not a reliable indicator of severity. Some severe diseases such as uterine cancer may be less painful than simple conditions such as menses.

2. Ovarian Pain (cyst, torsion, inflammation, tumor).

The ovaries are more likely to cause sudden stabbing pain in the pelvis. In females, two ovaries lie in the pelvis on each side of the uterus and are connected to the uterus through the fallopian tube).

Common causes include:

A. Ovulation pain (Mittlelschmerz):

Ovulation pain often occurs in the mid-cycle (between two menses or two weeks after the last menstruation). Ovulation pain can feel dull or, sometimes, sudden stabbing pain in the left or the left pelvic areas.

Learn More at NHS.UK.

B. Ovarian torsion (uncommon).

Ovarian torsion is a medical emergency. It occurs when the ovary twists around its ligaments. The twisting cuts off the blood supply leading to the sudden onset of stabbing pelvic pain in females. The pain often increases with time and doesn’t go away.

Learn More about Ovarian torsion at yalemedicine.Org.

C. Oophoritis (ovarian inflammation).

Oophoritis is an inflammation of the uterus that often leads to sudden stabbing pain in the pelvis. It is usually caused by infection after childbirth, abortion, or insertion of an IUD.

Learn More.

D. Ovarian cysts.

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs inside the uterus. They’re widespread, but most of them are simple. However, ovarian cysts can cause sudden attacks of stabbing pelvic pain if they are large or ruptured. Learn more at mayoclinic.Org.

E. Ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is a less common cause of such a condition. Learn more.

3. Acute appendicitis.

Acute appendicitis is a prevalent cause of sudden stabbing pain in the pelvis in both females and males. Approximately 7% of the US will have appendicitis at some point in their life (reference).

The following is the typical scenario in appendicitis:

  • It starts with mild abdominal pain around the umbilicus (belly button).
  • Within hours, the pain localizes in the lower right abdomen (sudden stabbing pain in the right pelvis).
  • The pain starts mild and may come and go. Soon, it becomes more sharp and stabbing, constant, and localized.
  • Nausea and anorexia follow the onset of pain (pain is the first sign).
  • The pain doesn’t improve with defecation (unlike the pain from IBS and gastroenteritis).
  • Severe tenderness and gardening over the area of pain.
  • Fever (in 40% of the cases).
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Generalized fatigue (malaise).
  • Sometimes, urinary frequency or urgency.

4. Lower abdominal wall pain.

The wall of the abdomen can be the source of sharp pelvic pain due to:

  • Muscle strain.
  • Inguinal hernias.

An inguinal hernia occurs when a loop of the intestine passes through a weak point in the lower abdomen.

Inguinal hernias are more common in males. However, they also occur in females and cause sudden stabbing pelvic pain.

They are typically painless but can cause stabbing pain when they are developing or strangulated.

Sudden stabbing pain when you move or lift heavy objects is characteristic of abdominal muscle pain and inguinal hernia.

Inguinal hernias form a bulge in the area on either side of pubic pain. It becomes more prominent when you cough, strain or lift a heavy object.

Learn more about inguinal hernias.

5. Colonic pain (gastroenteritis, colitis, and diverticulitis).

Common causes:

  • Acute infections (viral gastroenteritis, bacterial gastroenteritis, dysentery, etc.).
  • Acute diverticulitis (commonly affects the sigmoid colon causing left-sided sudden stabbing pain in the pelvis with blood in stool).
  • Severe constipation and stool impaction (left-side pelvic and lower abdominal pain).
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases.
  • And others.

Features and symptoms of colon pain:

  • It is often in the form of cramps or colics that comes and go.
  • Associated with bowel habit changes (diarrhea or constipation).
  • The sharp pain is usually relieved by defecations.
  • Blood or mucus in stool may be present.
  • Related to other symptoms such as nausea, epigastric pain, vomiting, and bloating.

6. Fallopian tube pain & ectopic pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy is more common than you think. According to the CDC statistics, approximately one in every 40 pregnancies is ectopic (reference).

About 96% of the cases of ectopic pregnancy occur in the fallopian tube (reference).

The first symptom of an ectopic left tubal pregnancy is pain in the left lower abdomen.

The pelvic pain suddenly becomes stabbing or sharp as the pregnancy grows or due to complications such as rupture of the tube.

Symptoms of ectopic tubal pregnancy:

  • Small and early ectopic pregnancy often manifests with minor attacks of stabbing pelvic pain that comes and goes.
  • As the pregnancy
  • VaginaI bleeding.
  • Absence of menses (amenorrhea).
  • Pain on moving or bending.
  • Positive preganacy test.
  • Fainting, low blood pressure, severe abdominal pain, and gardening in severe complicated cases.

Sudden sharp stabbing pelvic pain in females also results from other diseases of the fallopian tube such as:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Endometriosis.
  • Fallopian tube torsion.

8. Urinary bladder conditions.

Common causes include:

Symptoms suggesting urinary bladder disease:

  • Urinary urgency (persistent urge to pee).
  • Sense of incomplete evacuation of your bladder after urination.
  • ‘Frequent peeing of small amounts.
  • Turbid or bloody urine.
  • Loin pain.
  • You may experience fever, muscle aches, and headaches with urinary tract infections.

9. Others.

  • Pelvic congestion syndrome.
  • Referred ureteric pain to the groin.
  • Pelvic trauma.
  • Pelvic adhesions.
  • Familial Mediterranean fever.
  • SexuaIIy transmitted diseases.