One in three women in the US experience pelvic pelvic pain monthly. Pelvic pain occurs in the body between the lower part of your abdomen and diaphragm.
Fortunately, several treatments can provide relief, including pelvic floor physical therapy and pelvic floor exercises you can do at home. This article will look through some of the leading causes of pelvic pain, what symptoms to look out for, and how to resolve your pelvic floor challenges.
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Menstrual pain and cramps
Menstrual pain is one of the most common types of pelvic floor dysfunction. According to data from Share Care, around 40 percent of women suffer monthly from cramps associated with their period. Researchers believe that the pain comes from the inflammation caused by the shedding of the lining of the uterus and subsequent muscle tension. Menstrual pain can be mild, but it can also be severe, forcing some women to seek medical treatment.
For some women, ovulation can also cause pain and cramping. Women typically feel it on one side of the abdomen or the other, depending on which of the ovaries releases the egg. The pain usually occurs halfway between periods. What causes it is unknown, though experts believe it may be the egg fluid irritating the lining of the uterus.
Interstitial cystitis, also sometimes called painful bladder syndrome, is a condition that leads to painful and frequent urination. Symptoms can come and go almost at random, causing both physical and psychological distress to the affected person.
Cystitis or urinary tract infections
Cystitis and urinary tract infections (often abbreviated UTIs) are painful conditions in which harmful bacteria, such as E.Coli, colonize the bladder, ureter, and kidney, leading to inflammation and swelling. UTIs are more likely among sexually active women, but they can occur without any sexual contact at all. Researchers believe that bacteria migrating from the anus into the urethra and then up into the bladder cause most infections.
Sexually transmitted infections
A range of sexually transmitted infections can cause pain, swelling, and discomfort. Gonorrhea, herpes, and trichomoniasis, for instance, can all cause pain for women during intercourse. Molluscum contagiosum can also lead to pain if the sores become infected.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Some women can experience a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease caused by untreated bacterial vaginosis and chlamydia. Here the entire pelvic floor becomes inflamed in response to an infection that the body cannot quickly eliminate. Women with the condition typically experience lower back pain, irregular periods, discomfort during urination, and excess vaginal discharge with a foul odor.
Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of the uterus no longer grows in the right place, leading to pain and discomfort. Women with the syndrome often experience severe menstrual cramps, pain during and after menstruation, painful bowel movements, and pain during intercourse. It is also associated with bladder pain. Despite affecting more than 5.5 million women in the US alone, researchers know very little about what causes the disease. With that said, there are a variety of treatments available, including pain medications and surgery.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition in which the large intestine has a propensity to experience periodic spasms, leading to cramping, constipation, and diarrhea. Researchers are still trying to figure out what triggers attacks, but many believe that it has to do with the lack of fiber in typical western-style diets. Irritable bowel syndrome can be mild in some people, affecting them perhaps a couple of times per month, or it can be a severe condition that causes daily discomfort.
When should I be concerned about pelvic pain?
Under what circumstances should you be concerned about pelvic pain? The first is if the pain is something new that you’ve not experienced before. New discomfort is an indication that something different may have gone wrong in your body. You should also seek medical assistance if you are experiencing extreme pain, have nausea and vomiting, or find yourself losing consciousness.
How do I get rid of pelvic pain?
The good news is that there are several ways that you can get rid of pelvic pain. If your condition is mild, then you can try a range of therapies before you seek professional medical attention. Start with over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (also called Tylenol). Then move onto other lifestyle changes. Many women, for instance, find that regular movement helps them to relieve pelvic pain. A brisk walk or trip to the gym can sometimes alleviate some of the discomfort you feel. For others, heat therapy is most effective. (You can try heat therapy at home by placing a hot water bottle on the affected area). If you continue to experience pain, visit your doctor. They can provide treatments for your specific condition, whatever that happens to be, including pelvic floor dysfunction physical therapy.
Where do you feel pelvic pain?
For most women, pelvic pain is non-specific, meaning that it is difficult to pinpoint precisely where it originates. Others, though, can feel the pain emerging from a specific location, such as the ovaries, uterus, bladder, bowel, or kidneys. Many women describe pelvic pain as a dull ache somewhere near the naval, but it doesn’t have to be. Conditions like IBS and endometriosis can lead to sharp, stabbing pain sensations too.
How do you get rid of pelvic pain naturally?
If you are experiencing severe pain, trying to get rid of it naturally is not advised. If, however, your symptoms are mild and you know their source, natural remedies can help. Herbal supplements, for instance, can offer some therapeutic benefit. Mint capsules may be able to reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Likewise, painkilling herbs, such as cumin and ginger, may help with all types of pelvic discomfort. If the source of your pain is inflammation, then turmeric may help. This spice helps to reduce the inflammatory response of the immune system and reduce the swelling that causes pelvic floor dysfunction pain. You may also want to avoid pro-inflammatory foods such as alcohol, processed foods, and dairy for a time.