Pelvic pain is a bit of a taboo topic. It’s not exactly a subject to chat about over coffee. Ideally, you should talk to your doctor about any pelvic pain discomfort you have, but many people suffer in silence. What causes pelvic pain is sometimes a mystery.
My pelvic pain journey began around 2015. I share my details in here. For this post, I wanted to review some of the basic facts around pelvic pain. Having been to 6 doctors, I’ve become a bit of an “expert” on the subject.
This post is meant for information purposes only. Always see your healthcare provider for medical advice.
What is pelvic pain
The very basic definition for pelvic pain is really anything below the belly button and above the legs. Some pain is obvious like cramps from your period or perhaps gas after a big meal. Other pain is not as easy to pinpoint a cause. Before my ordeal, I was under the impression that this was an issue mainly for women, but many men also experience pelvic pain.
What Causes Pelvic Pain in Women
Although men also suffer from pelvic discomfort, I’m going to focus on women. WebMD highlights these as possible causes for pelvic and uterine pain in women. This is not an exhaustive list, just the most common reasons for the pain.
- Uterine fibroids
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Ovarian cysts
- STD – sexually transmitted disease
- Ectopic pregnancy
- IBS- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- UTI- urinary tract infection
Sudden or severe pelvic pain
If your Pelvic pain comes on suddenly or is acute, call your doctor immediately. They’ll be able to investigate the cause and arrange any treatment you may need.
Chronic Pelvic Pain
I’m the lucky winner in this category with 5 years of chronic pelvic pain. Your pain is considered chronic if you have had it for more than 6 months. I had no idea how common it was. Approximately 1 out of 6 women suffers from it.
The NHS website in the UK has a great article about the various types of pelvic pain.
Rare chronic pelvic pain
Another category where I “win” a prize is that my pelvic pain falls into the rare category. Some more rare instances of chronic pelvic pain include:
Interstitalcystitis – Chronic bladder inflammation
- Prolapse of the womb
- Trapped or damaged nerves in the pelvic area – THIS ONE IS ME!
Get a 2nd, 3rd and even 4th opinion
Dealing with any sort of pelvic pain can be overwhelming. It can also be isolating and downright depressing. I highly recommend getting all of the help you possibly can. If one doctor provides you with a diagnosis and treatment that doesn’t help, find another doctor.
Don’t be afraid to hurt your doctor’s feelings. The best doctors should actually help you find a specialist. Even specialists may not always have the best solution. I saw a pain specialist who was able to help me somewhat, but after some failed treatments, she recommended another specialist.
Do your research, but don’t try to self-diagnose. At the same time, don’t settle for advice that you don’t agree with in your gut. My first diagnosis was vulvodynia. While I explored treatments for a bit, deep down I didn’t feel like this was the right diagnosis.
I saw 3 more doctors before I found the right one for my diagnosis. I also saw a therapist for emotional support.
Insurance won’t necessarily cover every doctor or every treatment so it’s up to you to decide what you can afford. I will say that finding the right solution for me was worth every penny.
Luckily, more and more doctors are helping to push back on insurance companies to provide evidence that treatments are medically necessary and not “experimental.” Insurance companies LOVE that term.
I hope this article has helped you better understand what causes pelvic pain and what you can do about it. If you or someone you know suffers from pelvic discomfort, please know that you are not alone and share this article if you think it will be helpful.