May is Pelvic Pain Awareness Month
In honor of pelvic pain awareness month, I wanted to write a brief article to help women identify pelvic pain, conditions associated with pelvic pain and recommended treatment plans. Chronic pelvic pain or (CPP) is very common for women, especially in their reproductive years. Different studies report anywhere from 44%-60% of all women experience CPP. Due to the sensitivity of this topic many cases go unreported. Sadly, women are not always seeking help for pelvic pain or pelvic floor dysfunction because they are told that pelvic pain is “part of being a woman or giving birth”. It is important for all women to identify and understand what the symptoms are of CPP and the best course of treatment. The faster preventative care can be administered the more likely the woman will heal faster and hopefully avoid long term side effects of pelvic pain.
Some symptoms of CPP include:
- Pain during or after sex
- Pain before or during period
- Pain before or during ovulation
- Painful bowel movements
- Painful urination
- Lower back pain (chronic)
- Urgency to urinate
- Pelvic pressure
Usually certain symptoms are associated with specific Conditions that create pelvic pain.
Here are some of the conditions that create pelvic pain:
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Urinary tract infection
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Uterine Fibroids
- Levator Syndrome
- Pelvic Support problems
Conversations are beginning to flow out loud regarding pelvic pain and discomfort, there is no reason to live in discomfort and pain. Know that if you are experiencing pelvic pain, you are not alone and there is professional help available to help get you better. In my practice as a prenatal and postpartum fitness specialist I see women with a variety of pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms and I highly recommend every woman seek a specialized pelvic floor physical therapist regardless if they are piercing pain, leaking or pressure and they also follow an exercise program that is specific for their needs during and after pregnancy.
I sat down with a colleague of mine, Marcy Crouch of Restorative PT, to get a quote about pelvic pain and here is what she has to say,
“One in three women experience pelvic floor dysfunction after childbirth. We do a poor job of taking care of new mamas in this country and having a pelvic floor assessment post-partum is imperative for comprehensive care and optimal healing and recovery. We often leave mothers to navigate their recovering bodies alone, and dismiss concerns with ‘oh that’s normal, you just had a baby, what do you expect?’. Common does NOT mean normal and even though it may be common to leak urine with exercise or sneezing, or have pain with sex, doesn’t mean it’s normal or should be treated as such. Working with skilled providers and having a multidisciplinary team to meet all needs of the new mother should not be a luxury, it should be a necessary and very standard piece of comprehensive post-partum care.” – Marcy Crouch of Restorative PT
Danielle Spangler is the founder of Core Mom Fitness (Corrective Obstetrical Related Exercise) and Marcy Crouch is a pelvic floor physical therapy and owner of Restorative PT.