Managing Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain is any pain you experience below your belly button and can be as a result of muscle pains, infection or chronic issues. When a person experiences chronic pain (more than 6 months) it is recommended that they see a doctor.
There are many types of pains and areas that the pain may arise, as well as reasons for the pain. Here are a few common reasons for pelvic pain, as well as when you should be concerned about pelvic pain.
Possible reasons for pelvic pain
A fairly common pain is the muscle cramps that come with the menstrual cycle. The contraction of the uterus can feel like cramping and heaviness in the pelvic area, lower back and stomach. While it is common for muscle contractions to lead to uncomfortable period pain, if the pain lasts longer than the first couple of days of menstruation, or if medication like Naprogesic does not help, it may be as a result of something more serious, like endometriosis.
Endometriosis affects women’s reproductive organs as well as lead to intense pelvic pain. The cells found in the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) will grow in other parts of the body outside the uterus – such as the bladder, ovaries or bowel. The lining will go through the same cycle as the cells in the uterus, however, they do not have anywhere to go, and this can lead to pelvic pain, scarring and inflammation. Pain can occur before or after sex, just before your period as well as during your period. If you experience these symptoms you should speak to your doctor.
This condition is similar to endometriosis in that it produces cells outside of the lining but instead, cells form within the muscles of the uterus. Symptoms and pain are very similar to endometriosis.
Pelvic muscle pain
This pain comes from muscles in the pelvic and pelvic area that can lead to similar cramping pains as period pain. It may also show as shooting pains up your vagina and/or rectum, or pain during sex, pain inserting tampons or pain after core exercises like sit-ups and crunches. Pilates and pelvic muscle stretches can help the pain.
Bladder pain & UTIs
UTIs are very common in women, and over 50% of women will likely get a UTI in their lifetime. Interstitial cystitis can also lead to pelvic pain – however, will be a different pain to UTI pain. Needing to urinate over 8 times day, pain with a full bladder or sense of urgency to urinate, as well as general pain when you do urinate. UTIs require antibiotics to remove the infection.
When should I be concerned about pelvic pain?
If you recognise any abnormal pains outside of mild period pain, you should speak to your doctor. If you feel your doctor is not listening to you, you can also seek a second opinion. With conditions like endometriosis however you might not experience pain, and it’s recommended that you have regular check-ups with your gynaecologist.
Call 1300 851 968 to discuss concerns with pelvic pain.