May: Pelvic Pain Awareness Month
Pelvic pain is the general term used to describe pain, whether it be intermittent or constant, concentrated near or under a woman’s belly button. Researchers have had a difficult time determining the number of women who have pelvic pain since this pain is often associated with other conditions such as endometriosis, vulvodynia, IBS, and others.
What’s Causing it?
Pelvic pain is often a multisystem condition with sexual, bowel, urinary, gynecological, and musculoskeletal symptoms and those with chronic pain often fear that any activity will worsen their symptoms. One study concluded that around 15% of women of childbearing age in the United States have had pelvic pain that lasted 6 months. Despite the prevalence of pelvic pain among women, many choose to suffer in silence, which contributes to a list of other complications including depression, anxiety, problems at work, and relationship issues.
Women aren’t the only ones who can experience pelvic pain – men, too, can have pain in their organs around their pelvis, and is often associated with swelling of the prostate. This can be painful for men’s genital region as well as bladder and tailbone pain, and/or rectal area pain.
Is My Pain Chronic?
Chronic Pelvic Pain (CPP) is considered any pelvic pain lasting longer than six months. Chronic pain can continue even if the original problem causing the pain has dampened or is completely gone. It is estimated that up to 25 million women suffer from CPP and nearly 25% of those women spend 2-3 days in bed each month due to their pain. CPP also has a impacting effect on a person’s intimacy and sex life as it’s reported that 90% have pain with intercourse.
This Pelvic Pain Awareness Month is a reminder that pelvic pain is a real issue and treatments are available for patients to live more comfortable, pain-free lives. Treatments for pelvic pain range from medications and hormone treatment to pelvic floor therapy or in some cases, surgery. Pain is not normal and should not be accepted by those experiencing pelvic pain. If you find sudden pelvic pain, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. If you pain is dull and carries over weeks or months, it is critical to speak with your doctor to find the underlying cause and begin treatment to find relief.
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