What Organ Is Right Above the Pelvic Bone?

Reviewed on 11/18/2022
Man lying on his side holding a bloated belly
The organs located just above the pelvic bone include the reproductive organs, urinary bladder, distal ureters, proximal urethra, terminal sigmoid colon, rectum, and anal canal.

The bones of the pelvis are located within the pelvic cavity.

  • The organs right above the pelvic bone are contained within the pelvic cavity which primarily contains the reproductive organs, urinary bladder, distal ureters, proximal urethra, terminal sigmoid colon, rectum, and anal canal. 
  • In females, the uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovaries, and upper vagina occupy the area between the other organs.
  • The rectum is found at the back of the pelvis, in the curve of the sacrum and coccyx; the bladder is in front, behind the pubic symphysis. 

What Causes Pain Above the Pelvic Bone?

Because so many structures coexist in a crowded space within the pelvic area, disorders of one pelvic organ may impact another; for example, constipation may overload the rectum and compress the bladder, or childbirth could damage certain nerves and later lead to anal weakness.

Some common problems that can affect organs above the pelvic bone include: 

  • Appendicitis
    • The appendix becomes inflamed and filled with pus, causing pain
    • If untreated, the appendix can rupture and cause infection, which can be serious and even fatal
  • Diverticulitis
    • Diverticula are small, bulging pouches that can form in the lining of the digestive system
    • Diverticulitis occurs when one or more of these pouches become inflamed or infected 
  • Ureteral colic
    • Most commonly caused by the obstruction of the urinary tract by kidney stones
  • Colitis
    • Inflammation of the colon
    • Irritable bowel disease (IBD)
      • Ulcerative colitis
        • A chronic type of IBD that causes inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the colon
      • Crohn's disease
        • A chronic type of IBD that can cause inflammation anywhere along the lining of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus, and it usually affects all layers of the bowel walls, not just the inner lining
    • Clostridium difficile (C. diff) colitis infection
  • Endometriosis
    • The type of tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus and can cause pain, infertility, and heavy periods
  • Uterine fibroids 
    • The most common noncancerous tumors in women of childbearing age
  • Gynecologic cancers 
    • Includes cancers of the cervix, ovaries, uterus, vagina, and vulva

This is not a comprehensive list and many different conditions can affect the organs of the pelvic area, so it is important to see a doctor if you have any concerns. 

What Are Symptoms of Problems with Organs Above the Pelvic Bone?

Symptoms of problems that can affect organs above the pelvic bone can vary depending on the condition and may include: 

How Are Problems with Organs Above the Pelvic Bone Diagnosed?

The cause of problems that can affect organs above the pelvic bone is diagnosed with a patient history and physical examination which may include a pelvic examination and/or rectal exam. Depending on the suspected cause, tests may include: 

What is the Treatment for Problems with Organs Above the Pelvic Bone?

Treatment for problems that can affect organs above the pelvic bone varies depending on the condition and may include: 

  • Home care
  • Rest
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for pain
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen) may be recommended
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve) may worsen gastrointestinal pain or upset
  • Over-the-counter antacids
  • Drink plenty of fluids 
  • Fasting (as advised by your doctor)
  • A hot water bottle or heated wheat bag placed on the abdomen
  • Limit or avoid coffee, tea, and alcohol
  • Try the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast

Treatment for appendicitis may include: 

  • If the appendix has not burst, it may be possible to treat the appendicitis with antibiotics, but without surgery there is a chance appendicitis will return so surgery is usually recommended
  • If the appendix has burst, surgery is usually more complicated and cuts might be larger or the surgery might take longer

Treatment for diverticulitis depends on the severity, any complications that exist, and a patient’s other medical conditions.

Treatment for mild diverticulitis includes:

  • Clear liquid diet for 2-3 days; progressing to a soft diet as tolerated
  • 7-10 days of oral broad-spectrum antibiotics if needed
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and antispasmodics for pain

In severe cases hospitalization may be needed. If hospitalized, treatment for severe diverticulitis may include:

  • Clear liquid diet; progress to a soft diet as tolerated
  • Intravenous (IV) or oral antibiotics
  • Abscesses less than 3 cm: Typically resolved with antibiotics 
  • Abscesses greater than 4 cm: Drain percutaneously
  • Pain management 
  • Elective surgical resection

Treatment for ureteral colic may include:

  • Observation
    • Most ureteric stones pass spontaneously in the urine
  • Pain medications
  • Medication to decrease inflammation, prevent or treat infection, or reduce muscle spasm 
  • Surgical or radiological intervention 
    • Depends on stone size, position, impaction, and obstruction or if the stone does not pass

Treatment for irritable bowel disease (IBD) including ulcerative colitis Crohn's disease depends the severity of the condition and how often a patient’s symptoms flare-up (worsen). Treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms, inducing remission (which is a period without symptoms), and maintaining remission. Treatment may include: 

  • Medications 
  • Diet changes 
  • Surgery 

Treatment for C. diff colitis infection may include hospitalization for severe cases. C. diff is highly contagious, so healthcare providers wear gowns and gloves to prevent the spread of C. diff to themselves and to other patients.

  • If you have C. diff and it is caused by a particular antibiotic, you may be switched to another antibiotic 
    • Antibiotics prescribed to treat C. diff include vancomycin or fidaxomicin
      • In some cases, a second round of antibiotics may be needed. 
  • A fecal transplant (bacteriotherapy) in serious cases
  • Surgery for a very small number of extremely severe cases

Endometriosis symptoms usually go away when a woman goes through menopause. Treatment for endometriosis may include: 

  • Medications 
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain
    • Hormonal birth control
    • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs and GnRH antagonists 
    • Aromatase inhibitors 
  • Surgery 
    • Used both to diagnose endometriosis and also to remove it
  • Treatments for infertility related to endometriosis 

In some cases, uterine fibroids may not need treatment. Treatment for uterine fibroids that cause problematic symptoms may include 

  • Medications used to treat uterine fibroids include: 
    • Iron and vitamins 
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) 
    • Hormonal birth control 
    • Antifibrinolytic medicines  
    • Progesterone receptor modulators 
    • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues 
  • Surgery 

Treatment for gynecologic cancers depends on the kind of cancer and how far it has spread (metastasized) and may include one or more of the following: 

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Reviewed on 11/18/2022

Image source: iStock Images