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Last Updated on March 29, 2024

Having Pelvic Pain When Lying Down at Night? What Should You Do?

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Written By Alex Petrović

Certified Sleep Consultant

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If you're having pelvic pain when lying down at night, getting proper sleep can be rather difficult. But what's causing this pain and should you see a professional? Let's find out!

When it comes to pelvic pain, narrowing down the exact cause can be rather difficult. As you'll soon see, there are plenty of conditions affecting this part of the body, especially in women, and telling them apart can be tricky. So, we're going to list off all the potential causes of pelvic pain for both men and women.


However, do note that this is just informational. We strongly discourage self-diagnosing as these conditions vary drastically in both treatment options and severity. So, just use this as a learning stepping stone and seek out a professional if you're in severe pain or the pain persists for a long period of time.

Pelvic pain in women and men

A woman clenching her stomach in pain

Since the pelvis covers the area between your belly button and your groin, and thus covers one's reproductive organs, certain conditions only affect men or women respectively. And we'll get into these specific conditions later on.

However, there are also a few overlapping conditions that can affect just about anyone. After all, the pelvic area also covers one's digestion system and certain conditions don't discriminate. So, if you experience pelvic pain, these are the primary conditions we suggest looking into.

Irritable bowel syndrome or Coeliac disease

With around 10-20% of people in the UK potentially suffering from IBS, it's a very likely cause of chronic pelvic pain in women and men alike. After all, it persists throughout one's life and can cause chronic pain in your digestion system.

And unfortunately, it can be difficult to rule out IBS as a possibility on your own. This is because diagnosing IBS typically requires a blood and stool sample. You could potentially take note of whether you tend to have abdominal pains after eating certain foods but it's always better to seek professional help.

The same can be said for Coeliac disease. Although in that case, the pain tends to be specifically in your stomach so you could potentially rule it out. But again, it's better to be safe than sorry.

A Urinary Tract Infection

When it comes to having a urinary tract infection, the warning signs are a lot more obvious than with IBS. According to the CDC, people with a UTI typically experience a burning sensation while urinating as well as general urination problems. Factors such as blood in your urine will likely also raise alarm.

And while women are a lot more likely to contract a UTI (with more than half of all women having one during their life), men can suffer from it as well. But, as we've stated, the symptoms of a UTI usually involve more than just pelvic pain. So, it should be a bit easier to determine whether it's the cause of any discomfort in your pelvic region.

A Sexually Transmitted Infection

In the same line as UTIs, we have STIs. Aside from affecting both men and women, STIs are also a bit easier to diagnose when compared to something like IBS. This is because symptoms of STIs typically involve warts, discharge or rashes around your genital area.

So, while pelvic pain can also occur, the absence of any other symptoms can suggest that there's a different underlying condition. That being said, if you've had unprotected intercourse, going to a sexual health clinic is never a bad idea.

A hernia

Like with STIs, hernias can be simple to diagnose, however, their treatment isn't always as straightforward. If you sense a bulge near your belly button, stomach, or groin, it's possible that you have a hernia. There are also a few identifiable risk factors, such as if you lifted heavy objects recently or had strenuous bowel movements.

However, the most definitive indication that you have a hernia is a bump. So, if you happen to find one, make sure to see your GP and discuss your treatment options. And while a lot more severe than a hernia, we'd also like to mention pelvic organ prolapse, as it's bound to cause sharp pain. However, just like with a hernia, you should be able to feel or even see if a prolapse has taken place.


With around 40 000 people going to the hospital in the UK for appendicitis, this is another common condition that can cause pelvic pain. However, it seldom if ever manifests as just pain and is usually followed by other symptoms.

Most notably, a high fever, a loss of appetite and vomiting. And, this goes without saying, if you've had your appendix removed in the past – you can safely rule it out as the cause of your pelvic pain.

Pelvic pain in women

A woman holding her stomach in pain

Now that we've covered all the conditions that cause pelvic pain and can afflict both men and women, let's get a bit more specific. Unfortunately, if you're a woman, narrowing down the cause of your pelvic pain can be a bit more difficult.

And that is because, as you'll soon see, there's a significant number of conditions that tend to induce pelvic pain in women. So, seeing a professional is even more important, as it can be quite tricky to narrow down the exact cause.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

When it comes to diagnosing PID, it can be an uphill battle. This is due to the fact that there isn't a test you can do. Rather your GP will take things like your age and sexual activity into consideration and make a judgement call. Plus, people who have PID don't always show symptoms.

However, when symptoms are present, you can expect a dull ache in your lower abdomen, a fever, difficulties during intercourse, and vaginal discharge. If you're 25 years old or younger, have more than one sexual partner, and are experiencing these symptoms, PID could be a possibility. However, don't self-diagnose.

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, also known as Pelvic Venous Insufficiencyis a condition that affects the veins in your ovaries. It typically affects women between 20 and 45 and is more likely if you've given birth. If someone in your family has suffered from PCS, you're also more likely to have it as well.

It's also one of the more believable answers to the titular question as the pain tends to be sharper at night. And since around 12% of reported pelvic pain issues have been connected to PCS, it's also relatively common. However, tests can be required in order to diagnose the condition properly.

Pelvic Adhesions

If you've had surgery in the pelvic area, pelvic adhesions could also be the cause of pain. According to one studyup to 93% of people who had undergone abdominal surgery have been affected by Pelvic Adhesions.

PA typically has the scar tissue bind the pelvic organs, such as the fallopian tubes, uterus, or bladder. And, as with a few conditions so far, diagnosing this condition typically involves laboratory tests and a review of your medical history.

Period pain

As we're sure anyone who has gone through their menstrual cycle can attest to, pelvic pain can occur during the first one or two days of one's period. Therefore, if the timing lines up, it could potentially just be caused by contractions of the uterus muscles. That being said, if the pain persists for longer than a few days or if the timing is completely off, it might be something more serious.

Other conditions

By this point, it's obvious that getting your pelvic pain diagnosed can be difficult without the help of professionals. And unfortunately, the conditions mentioned so far aren't the only ones that can cause some sort of pelvic pain. So, to keep this article from being too long, we're going to list off a few more conditions that can have this effect. And we'll also be linking each one to a trusted source so that you can check out what that condition entails.

Pelvic pain in men

A man clenching his stomach in pain

Now that we've covered some of the conditions that only affect women, let's do the same for men. Admittedly, there might not be as many male-only conditions but they can still be a serious concern.

And as you'll soon see, most of the conditions in this category have to do with the prostate. So, if you're over the age of 50, this is a sign that you should have your prostate checked as soon as you can.

Urethral stricture

Although women can have a urethral stricture, they are far more common in men as their urethra is longer. The condition occurs when the urethra tightens, making it more difficult to urinate and thus causing abdominal pain or discomfort. As far as causes are concerned, a urethral stricture usually manifests after an injury, infection, or a different condition that causes bloating.


Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate and it can come in many different forms. However, for our purposes, we specifically want to look at Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. This is because CPPS is extremely common, with 90-95% of men who have Prostatitis suffering from it.

However, even though it's rather common, it's not fully understood. Unlike other forms of Prostatitis, it's not caused by an infection. However, it's suggested that it's caused by an issue with the pelvic floor, urine getting into the prostate, or mental health factors such as anxiety. As you can see, the causes vary quite drastically.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Also called Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy and Benign Prostatic Obstruction, BPH is a condition where the prostate gland is enlarged. However, and this is important, it's not cancerous. But just because it's not cancerous doesn't mean you shouldn't immediately have it checked out.

For one, the enlarging of the prostate can push the bladder to the side or even cause a Urethral stricture. And we've already gone over how that can cause pelvic pain in its own way.

How to treat pelvic pain?

Considering how many different conditions can cause pelvic pain in both men and women, getting your pelvic pain treated can be difficult. So, above anything else, we recommend seeing your GP if the pain persists for more than a day or two and/or if any other symptoms happen to manifest. From that point on, your doctor can recommend a few solutions.

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About the author

Alex Petrović
Sleep Consultant
A CPD certified Sleep Consultant with more than 2000 hours of research into all the different ways we can get a great night's sleep. As a former insomniac, I know how difficult life can be without a nightly recovery and I love that I get to share everything I've learned with you all. So hopefully we can all sleep soundly!
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