Symptoms and Causes of Chronic Pelvic Pain

Many women experience chronic pelvic pain. Pelvic pain is the pain you feel in the area below your belly button and between your hips. Usually, the pain spreads over your entire pelvic area as opposed to a single spot. The pain can be severe and steady or it could come and go. You may also feel some dull aching or sharp pains accompanied by cramping. At times, you will also experience heaviness within your pelvis. Pelvic pain can also be accompanied by pain while urinating, having a bowel movement, or when you sit for prolonged periods. There are several causes of chronic pelvic pain. These include;

  • Fibroids

Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in the uterus. These growths appear during child-bearing age and are not associated with an increased risk of cancer. They can vary in size, from seedling-like to large masses that distort the uterus and make it appear bigger. There are three major types of uterine fibroids classified according to their location. These include intramural fibroid which grows inside the uterine wall, submucosal fibroids that grow into the uterine cavity, and subserosal fibroids that move to the outside of the uterus.

There are several causes of uterine fibroids. One is genetic changes that occur in the genes which are different from those in the muscle cells of the uterus. Fibroids are also caused by estrogen and progesterone hormones, which appear in the uterine lining during menstruation to prepare your body for pregnancy. Additionally, several risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing fibroids, such as being a black woman, obesity, having a family history of fibroids, and vitamin D deficiency.

You may need to see a doctor if you have anemia, bleeding between periods, prolonged and painful periods, and chronic pelvic pain that won’t stop. 

  • Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition whereby the tissue that lines up your uterus grows outside it. The tissue which grows outside your uterus undergoes the same changes as your uterine lining. It thickens, breaks down, and bleeds with every menstrual cycle as your hormone levels change. The blood and tissue formed on the growth outside your uterus cannot leave the body through the vagina. It, therefore, remains in the abdomen and causes painful adhesions and cysts. 

The cause of endometriosis is unknown, although there is a theory which states that it is caused by the unusual depositing of menstrual debris during the retrograde flow of blood into through the fallopian tube to the abdominal and pelvic cavities. Other symptoms of endometriosis include painful sexual intercourse, infertility, and painful bowel movements. 

  • Musculoskeletal problems

Pelvic pain may also be caused by conditions that affect your musculoskeletal system, which includes your bones, connective tissues, and joints. Such conditions include fibromyalgia, pubic symphysis, and pelvic floor muscle tension. Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain and results in fatigue, memory and mood problems, and fatigue. The condition amplifies pain. The disease can run in families and can, therefore, be a result of genetics. It can also be caused by physical and emotional trauma, for example, after surgeries and as a result of psychological stress. Other causes include a trigger by certain illnesses. 

Fibromyalgia has no cure, but you can control it through exercise, relaxing, and reducing stress. Some medications help to reduce the symptoms.

  • Psychological conditions

The state of your mental health may also cause you to experience pelvic pain. If you suffer from depression or a history of abuse; including physical and sexual assault, you are likely to experience pelvic pain. Chronic pain and physical distress can turn into a vicious cycle if not treated. The pain causes your emotional health to deteriorate, and the emotional stress, in turn, aggravates the physical pain. If you have a mental or psychological condition, it is best to visit a doctor and get treated.

Some people experience pelvic pain when their bladder fills, which disappears when they empty it. Others have irritable bowels characterized by diarrhea and bloating, which results in pain. Some doctors state that people with enlarged varicose veins around the ovaries and uterus will experience pelvic pain. Whichever the case, ensure you see a doctor to help identify the cause of your pain.