A pelvic mass is an enlargement or swelling in the lower abdomen or pelvic region. Some people may be able to feel a pelvic mass, however, most are discovered during routine physical examinations. Masses can cause pelvic inflammation and the swelling may trigger other symptoms in the body, which may alert the individual that something is wrong. Masses in the pelvis can signify the presence of a benign or malignant condition. For this reason, it is important to have any mass evaluated by a medical professional.
In women, a mass can indicate an abnormal growth on or within a female reproductive organ. The growth can be as simple as a benign cyst or as serious as a malignant tumor. Masses in the pelvic region of a woman can potentially damage the surrounding reproductive organs by preventing them from functioning properly. For instance, one can impact inner pelvic structures such as the uterus and the ovaries. Uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts are examples of masses in the female reproductive system.
Pelvic inflammatory disease can be another cause of swelling in the pelvic region in women. This condition refers to an infection of the female reproductive organs. The infection can spread throughout all of the organs, including the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. It can cause great complications, including severe pelvic pain, obstructed tubes and in some cases infertility.
In both males and females, a mass may involve abnormalities in other organs in the lower abdominal region. Commonly, a gastrointestinal disorder can cause pelvic masses in both genders. An obstruction or inflammation in the bowels, infection and fluid retention in the pelvis are some common reasons that a mass may develop. For this reason, a male with a pelvic mass or women with a mass that is not of a gynecologic cause, may consult with a gastroenterologist, who specializes in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, to investigate the origination of the mass. In many cases there are no overwhelming symptoms of this condition, however, some people may experience abdominal pain, pelvic tenderness and swelling.
If a doctor finds a pelvic mass during an examination, medical tests will be ordered to further investigate the issue. This will typically include blood tests and a number of diagnostic tests to get a detailed view of the inner structures of the pelvic region. Commonly, a computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be ordered for diagnostic imaging. It is important to get a mass evaluated, as it could be cancerous or could eventually turn cancerous. Getting prompt medical attention could prevent a benign mass from becoming malignant.