Pelvic health plays a pivotal role in overall well-being, particularly for women. This intricate region houses essential organs, including the bowel, bladder, ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes, making it imperative to pay attention to any discomfort or pain experienced in this area.
Ignoring pelvic pain symptoms and causes may mean you’re turning a blind eye to underlying health conditions that need immediate attention.
So, this article aims to shed light on the common pelvic pain symptoms, causes, treatment, and how to prevent further problems.
Understanding Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain is discomfort felt in the lower abdomen and above the legs. It can originate from the skin, muscles, nerves, or organs housed in the pelvic region.
Sometimes, the discomfort can even stem from multiple sources. Either way, depending on the severity, it’s known to last from just a few days up to six months or more.
In Australia, it is estimated that about one in five women will experience this type of pain. However, the actual number may be higher due to underdiagnosis and the need for more education about persistent pelvic pain in general and medical communities.
Why Does My Pelvis Hurt?
Understanding pelvic pain causes means looking at the symptoms of various potential conditions.
For example, pain in the pubic bone area could mean any of these health issues:
Period Pain: Period pain is a common symptom for women, especially when there is lower left pelvic pain in females.
It tends to feel like cramps or a sensation of heaviness in the pelvic area, lower back, or stomach. If the pain is severe or lasts longer than the first one or two days of the period, it could indicate a more serious condition, such as endometriosis.
Endometriosis: Speaking of which, this condition targets the female reproductive organs and is often connected to pelvic pain symptoms. In endometriosis, cells like those that line the uterus grow in other body parts, typically in the pubic area. This results in pain, scarring, and inflammation.
Adenomyosis: Often called the ‘sister’ condition of endometriosis, adenomyosis involves abnormal cell growth into the uterus’s muscle wall. The symptoms include abnormal or heavy period bleeding, painful periods, lower left pelvic pain for females, and uncomfortable sex.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): IBS is believed to be caused by the uneven contraction of the muscle wall of the bowel, typically causing pain and bloating. This type of pelvic discomfort usually improves after passing stools or wind.
Pelvic Muscle Pain: The muscles in the pelvis can spasm and cause pain in the pubic bone area, sometimes because of period pain or other discomfort happening in this area of the body.
The pain can change from coming and going to constant.
Bladder Pain & Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): UTIs, known to affect over 50% of women at some point in their lives, are another big cause of pelvic pain. Symptoms can include a burning sensation when passing urine and/or lower abdominal pain.
Vulval Pain: Vulval pain can be caused by irritation, infections, inflammatory skin conditions, tissue damage related to surgery or childbirth, and other causes. We highly encourage women to see our team for pre and post-natal care relating to this form of pain.
Seeking Help for Pelvic Pain
If you experience persistent pelvic pain, seeking medical help is important. A multidisciplinary physio team, like Beyond, can help diagnose this condition.
Additionally, it may be necessary to seek further advice from a specialist women’s health GP, a gynaecologist or a pain specialist. In these situations, we will always guide you toward the best path to take.
A Note on Why You Need a Pelvic Pain Symptom Checker
Remember, pelvic pain is not something to be ignored or downplayed. It’s essential to listen to your body and seek help when needed. You are not alone in this journey – our women’s and men’s pelvic physios are ready to assist you in managing your pelvic health.
Prevention Tips for Pelvic Health
Maintaining good pelvic health is crucial for overall well-being. While not all causes of pelvic pain can be prevented, there are several steps you can take to encourage health in this area and decrease your risk of developing certain conditions.
Here are some prevention tips:
Regular Exercise: Regular physical activity, particularly exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, can help maintain good pelvic health. Pelvic floor exercises, or Kegel exercises, can strengthen these muscles and help prevent conditions like urinary incontinence. Yoga and Pilates can also be beneficial, focusing on core strength and flexibility.
Healthy Diet: A balanced diet can contribute to overall pelvic health. Certain foods may exacerbate conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), so monitoring your diet and avoiding foods that trigger symptoms is important.
Staying hydrated and consuming a fibre-rich diet can also help maintain bowel health and prevent constipation, which can strain the pelvic muscles.
Regular Check-ups: Regular gynecological check-ups can help detect any abnormalities early and ensure that you’re maintaining good pelvic health. Don’t hesitate to discuss any concerns or symptoms with your healthcare provider or see our physiotherapist team help you through the discomfort.
Mindful Bathroom Habits: Avoid straining during bowel movements, and don’t delay going to the bathroom when needed. Straining can weaken the pelvic floor muscles over time. Additionally, fully empty your bladder when urinating to prevent urinary tract infections.
Manage Stress: Chronic stress can exacerbate symptoms of many conditions, including pelvic pain. Deep breathing, meditation, and other relaxation exercises can help manage stress.
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Extra weight can pressure your pelvic floor muscles. Keeping a healthy weight and ensuring a balanced diet with regular exercise can help prevent this.
Avoid Heavy Lifting: Regular heavy lifting can strain the pelvic floor muscles. If you need to lift something heavy, make sure you use proper form and engage your core to reduce the strain on your pelvic area.
Quit Smoking: Smoking can lead to a chronic cough, which can put constant pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and lead to issues over time. If you’re a smoker, consider seeking help to quit.
Pelvic health is a critical aspect of overall well-being that often gets overlooked. If you’re dealing with ongoing pelvic pain, it may be a big sign of an underlying condition – like period pain, endometriosis, adenomyosis, IBS, pelvic muscle pain, UTIs, and vulval pain, as mentioned above.
If you’re experiencing any form of pelvic discomfort, seeking medical help is crucial. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey, and our team is ready to assist you in managing your discomfort.