Chronic Pelvic Pain: Causes and Symptoms
Patients come to us to help them with all sorts of pain, including pelvic pain. Your pain may be mild and annoying, or it may be so severe that your daily life is up-ended, causing you to miss work and not be able to go about your daily routine.
Chronic pelvic pain is extremely uncomfortable. Pelvic pain is pain in the area below your belly button and between your hips. Chronic pelvic pain lasts six months or longer. This pain can have multiple causes, it can be a symptom of another disease, or it can be a condition in its own right.
In this blog, we will cover the various causes and symptoms of chronic pelvic pain.
Here are some of the various causes of chronic pelvic pain.
- Endometriosis. This is when tissue from the lining of your womb (uterus) grows outside your uterus. These tissue deposits thicken, break down, and bleed each month, just like a menstrual cycle. The thickening of the tissue causes your blood and tissue to not be able to exit your body through your vagina. They remain in your abdomen, where they may lead to painful cysts and fibrous bands of scar tissue (adhesions). Read more about this condition in this blog.
- Musculoskeletal problems. Issues that affect your bones, joints and connective tissues, such as fibromyalgia, pelvic floor muscle tension, inflammation of the pubic joint (pubic symphysis) or a hernia, often cause recurring pelvic pain.
- Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease. Long-term infection, often sexually transmitted, causes scarring that involves your pelvic organs can cause this to occur.
- Ovarian remnant. This occurs when a small piece of your ovary remains after you have had your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. Ovarian remnants can develop into painful cysts.
- Fibroids. These non-cancerous uterine growths may cause pressure or a feeling of heaviness in your lower abdomen. Sharp pain is not typical unless they become deprived of a blood supply and begin to die.
- Irritable bowel syndrome. Bloating, constipation or diarrhea can cause pelvic pain and pressure.
- Painful bladder syndrome. This is when you have recurring pain in your bladder and a need to urinate frequently. When your bladder gets full you can experience pelvic pain. The pain may dissipate temporarily after you empty your bladder. Read more about this condition in our previous blog.
- Pelvic congestion syndrome. Some doctors believe enlarged, varicose-type veins around your uterus and ovaries may result in pelvic pain. Not all women experience pain with this so other doctors are not sure that this syndrome causes chronic pelvic pain.
- Psychological factors. Depression and continuous stress can increase your risk of chronic pelvic pain. It may seem like a never-ending cycle because pain is worse during stress and chronic pain contributes to emotional distress.
It can be difficult to locate your pain, so here a few symptoms to help prepare you for your consultation with our therapists. Locate your pain by sweeping your hand over your entire pelvic area rather than point to a single spot. Your chronic pelvic pain may be described as one of the following:
- Severe and steady pain
- Intermittent pain
- Dull aches
- Sharp pains or cramping
- Pressure or heaviness deep within your pelvis
You may notice chronic pelvic pain during the following times:
- During intercourse
- While having a bowel movement or urinating
- After sitting for long periods of time
- Standing for long periods of time
Our therapists have extensive experience treating pelvic pain. Zarina Vitebsky is Co-Owner of ProTouch and an Advanced Pelvic Floor Therapist. She is currently one of two physical therapists in the US who have been trained by Dr. David Wise, author of Headache In The Pelvis to carry out his specific pelvic floor pain protocol. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.