Pelvic pain can often force many people to change their daily lifestyle. Unfortunately, many patients tend to take the symptoms of pelvic pain lightly and don’t receive treatment in time, making the pain in the pelvis region even more severe.
In this article, you will learn what pelvic pain is, its causes, and when you should be seeking medical attention immediately.
A] What Is Pelvic Pain?
Pelvic pain often refers to the pain women experience in their pelvic region, where the female reproductive organs are located. However, it’s a broadly used term, and men can also experience pain in the pelvis for multiple reasons.
Pelvic pain can also occur because of an infection, an injury in the pelvic bone, or because of an abnormality in the non-reproductive organs like the colon and bladder.
In the women’s case, if they suffer from pelvic pain, the probability of a problem occurring in the female reproductive organs like the uterus, fallopian tube, and others is pretty high.
B] Causes of Pelvic Pain
Although pelvic pain can occur because of many reasons, there are a few causes that show up more frequently than others. Here’s a list of the key causes of pelvic aches that you should be aware of.
Period pain is a very common thing for any woman who is going through her period. The period pain shows up when the muscles of the female reproductive organ, the uterus, contract. When it contracts, you might feel heaviness in your lower back, stomach, or in pelvic area. Sometimes, it feels like having a cramp.
Still, no matter how common it is, if it causes severe pelvic pain, it might be more than just common period pain. According to the experts, the pain lasts more than one or two days after the beginning of your period, and it doesn’t stop or reduce even with period pain medications; you should visit your doctor.
Sharp pelvic pain might also happen because of endometriosis, which is an abnormality or medical condition that affects female reproductive organs.
In endometriosis, cells that are similar to the cells located in the lining of the uterus grow in the other organs or locations in the pelvic area. It can be your bladder, bowel, ovaries, or the lining of the pelvis or peritoneum.
The unique thing about these cells is that they also go through the same menstrual change as the cells in the uterus. But these cells have no way to go out of the body, so they accumulate in the locations of their growth. Because of this, patients with endometriosis suffer from pain, inflammation, and scarring.
This pain can show up during the period, before the period, and even during sex. The patients can feel pain in their pelvic regions, abdomens, and back. The sharp pain can even show up during ovulation or urination, depending on the location of cell growth.
Adenomyosis is a condition of abnormal cell growth that is quite similar to endometriosis. The difference is that cell growth occurs in the muscle walls of the uterus itself. The symptoms are also quite similar to endometriosis, which contains painful periods, pain during sex, excessive period bleeding, etc.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Medical experts still don’t have a complete understanding of the exact cause(s) of irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. However, many experts believe that during this syndrome, the bowel muscle walls contract unevenly, and they become extremely sensitive, leading to unnatural bloating and pain.
The stabbing pelvic pain that patients experience due to IBS typically reduces a lot after the passing of stool. As IBS can often be triggered by the intake of a few specific types of food and immense stress, doctors often manage it by making the patients avoid trigger foods and stressful environments and work.
If you experience unexplained weight loss, severe diarrhoea, or see blood in your stool, you should see a doctor immediately.
Diagnosing IBS can be pretty tricky. In most cases, only after going through multiple tests and ruling out several similar symptoms can the doctors can confirm the existence of IBS.
Pelvic Muscle Pain
Sometimes, the muscles in the pelvic area contract unevenly, causing severe pain in the pelvic area. At first, the pain just comes and goes randomly. However, the pain later becomes more constant, developing into chronic pelvic pain.
This kind of pain will feel like you are having constant cramps and muscle contractions in your pelvic area. The pelvic muscle pain can show up or intensify during sex or while using tampons, and it can often continue for hours before finally stopping.
The pain can also intensify if you perform exercises, especially core training exercises like sit-ups, pilates, or crunches. You may find some relief if you lie down in the fetal position, do pelvic muscle stretches, or use a heat pack.
Make sure you visit your doctor immediately if you experience pelvic muscle pain.
Bladder pain or bladder syndrome might be the cause of your pelvic ache. Unlike urinary tract infections or UTIs, bladder syndrome happens because of irritation and not because of any kind of infection.
You should visit your doctor immediately if you experience the following symptoms that might be related to bladder syndrome:
- You are feeling the urge and need to empty your bladder more than ten times a day.
- When your bladder is full, you feel severe pain in it, which subsides only after emptying it.
- You are having pain during intercourse.
- At night, you need to empty your bladder more than once or twice a day.
- You almost always feel the urge to urinate.
Urinary Tract Infection
Yet another very common reason for stabbing pelvic pain, UTIs, or urinary tract infections affect more than 50% of all women. Some of the most notable symptoms of UTIs are stabbing pains during urinating and lower abdomen pain.
While UTIs are pretty common among women, if you don’t receive the treatment soon, they can grow into more severe medical complications like kidney infections.
If you experience the symptoms mentioned above for longer than one day and you also experience fever, nausea, chills, and back pain, contact a doctor immediately.
Vulva is the external part of the female genitalia, and vulval pain or pain in the vulva can happen due to infections, tissue damage, irritations, inflammatory skin conditions, etc.
Many women believe that vulval pain occurs because of thrush, a kind of vaginal yeast infection. However, it’s not limited to that. To treat vulval pain using the right method, doctors need to understand the reason for the pain first.
Vulvodynia is yet another chronic condition that can cause vulval pain, which can lead to chronic pelvic pain that can last for months, if not years. Patients with vulvodynia often feel pain, irritation, and a burning sensation in the vulva. Even a simple touch can trigger pain that can be felt all across the vulva.
Sometimes, the pain can be so severe that having sex, sitting down for a long period, and even using tampons can be extremely difficult for women.
C] Symptoms of Pelvic Pain that Require Immediate Medical Attention
Pelvic pain has many symptoms and warning signs. Let’s take a look at the most common symptoms that would require you to seek immediate medical attention:
- Vaginal pain, bleeding or discharge
- Painful urination or dysuria
- Severe menstrual cramps and pain
- Pain during or after sex
- Sudden fever
- Rectal bleeding
- Pain in the groin area
D] Treatment Options
The actual treatment method for pain in the pelvis depends on several aspects, which include the causes of the pain, its intensity, and the frequency of the pain. Here’s a list of some of the common pelvic pain treatment methods:
- Medicine: Sometimes, pelvic pain can be treated using the simple use of drugs or medications like antibiotics.
- Physical Therapy: Depending on the cause of pelvic pain, doctors can often recommend physical therapy to reduce and treat it.
- Surgery: If the main cause of severe pelvic pain is related to the pelvic organs, you might need to go through surgery or similar procedures to treat it.
Living with pelvic pain that just doesn’t go away, and it can even make a living a normal life difficult. Apart from the treatment of pelvic pain, you may also need to receive guidance from professional counsellors and psychologists to get rid of depression or mental trauma.
E] How to Prevent Pelvic Pain?
Even though pelvic pain is not quite easy to prevent, there are a few things you can do that can decrease the risk. Make sure that you are completely aware of your daily lifestyle.
If you like to stay physically active, ensure to do stretching routines and warmups before doing any work that puts a heavy load on your body. This way, you can minimize the chances of pelvic injuries.
Also, make sure you have a healthy body weight and a proper diet. You can talk to a dietician to avoid foods that can be harmful to your body, especially to the pelvic organs, to avoid pelvic aches.
Speak to Your Doctor
Pelvic pain can be pretty serious if many symptoms start showing up all of a sudden or if the discomfort you feel is severe enough to affect your regular life and activities. So, if you’re feeling pain in the pelvis that doesn’t go away even after one or two weeks, speak to a doctor immediately.
Feel free to visit Well Woman Clinic if you’re suffering from pelvic pain and other medical complications. Our experienced gynaecological specialists will help you throughout the diagnosis to confirm the causes of pelvic pain, so you can receive the best treatment.
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