Women are not taken seriously and are told to simply live with is pelvic pain.
Women are expected to put up with pain. In fact, a recent survey came to the conclusion that more than four in five women were not taken seriously by healthcare professionals.
One such pain that women are told to simply live with is chronic pelvic pain.
“Pelvic pain is the discomfort felt below the belly button and above the pubic bone. This can include pain at the time of a period or ovulation (when the ovary releases an egg). Many people who menstruate will feel some pelvic pain or discomfort."
But it is not just menstruation that causes pelvic pain. Sometimes pelvic pain is chronic and there could be many reasons for it. According to a study, around one in six women will develop some form of chronic pelvic pain during their lifetime.
"However, it’s not only gynecological conditions such as endometriosis or adenomyosis that can cause pelvic pain. There are conditions of the bladder and bowel that also cause pelvic pain,” explains Dr. Martin Hirsch, consultant gynecologist and endometriosis surgeon at Oxford University Hospitals, per Vogue.
Kathryn Witzeman, MD explains that because in many cultures pelvic region is considered taboo, many people suffer in silence and avoid seeking help due to the shame attached, as per Vogue.
"Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the "tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining your pelvis," according to Mayo Clinic.
“If a person gets pain during their periods only, this may represent endometriosis or adenomyosis, while if someone experiences pain throughout the month, but only when passing urine, it may point towards a bladder pain,” Dr. Hirsch said.
2. Urinary tract infections and uterine fibroids
When bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and multiply in the bladder, it causes UTI, or urinary tract infection. Uterine fibroids may not always cause pain but trigger certain kinds of discomfort.
3. Pelvic inflammatory disease and sexually transmitted infections
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is usually caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that have been left untreated or if bacteria enter the reproductive tract after miscarriage, abortion, giving birth, or menstrual period, but this is not that common.
4. Ovarian cysts
If you experience pelvic pain, often to one side, then it could be because of twisted or ruptured cysts in the ovary. The pain can be sharp or dull and may only occur during vaginal intercourse.
5. Complications in pregnancy
Complications like ectopic pregnancy—embryo growing in a fallopian tube can be very fatal if left untreated.
6. Gastrointestinal conditions
Pelvic floor muscles play a key role in bowel function. A disruption in gastrointestinal conditions like constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease can trigger pain in the pelvic area.
Persistent pelvic and back pain, along with vaginal bleeding and discharge can be early signs of gynecological cancers.
Los Angeles-based Dr Heather Jeffcoat, President of the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy and Advisory Board at International Pelvic Pain Society, lists nine symptoms of pelvic pain:
1. Nausea and vomiting
2. Severe or chronic constipation
3. Bladder pain (also presents as urinary frequency and formerly known as interstitial cystitis)
4. Rectal pain
5. Heavy periods with clots larger than the size of a Singaporean 20 cent piece
6. Extreme bloating
7. Missing school or work because of pain
8. Painful tampon insertion or penetrative intercourse
9. Painful orgasm
Chronic pelvic pain is also associated with a higher risk of psychological disorders. Studies have found that 50 percent of women with the condition suffer from moderate to severe anxiety, while over 25 percent have depression.
If you experience pain because of any reason, it is advised you go to a doctor immediately.
“Some form of discomfort during a period is common. However, when this discomfort starts happening outside of a period or interrupts a person’s quality of life, we recommend seeing a GP or gynecologist about it. There are many treatments available for endometriosis, although there is currently no known cure," Dr. Hirsch mentioned.
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Grace CaryDisclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.