Chronic pain in the vagina, vulvar, and abdomen is agonizing and emotionally stressful. It can cause enormous pressure on relationships, mental health, and living a full life. Men, women, and children can all have pelvic pain, but it's more common in women. For those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), endometriosis, prostatitis incontinence, painful sex, and urination, you may have intense pelvic floor pain that needs treatment. In this article, we'll show you how to heal pelvic pain with proven holistic therapy.
What are the causes and symptoms of pelvic pain?
The International Pelvic Pain Society and the Chronic Pain Research Alliance (CPRA) state that pelvic pain can come from different sources and can cause Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions (COPC). (1) You may develop symptoms connected to a urinary problem, for example, but then develop burning pain during sexual intercourse. Below we’ve divided chronic pain into different categories to help you narrow down the cause and symptoms of chronic pelvic pain.
Urinary incontinence and interstitial cystitis may cause chronic pelvic pain. It may feel like a headache in the pelvis that won't go away. Both create an extreme weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, leading to one or more of the following symptoms: (2)
- Desire to urinate all the time
- Urgency to pee when you don't need to
- Experience painful urination
- Difficulty in starting to stopping urinating
- Trouble fully emptying your bladder
Bowel problems can come from a myriad of different reasons that affect the gastrointestinal tract. Some diseases and issues include IBS, intestinal obstruction, and structural abnormalities. According to Health Grades, all of which can cause painful symptoms, including: (3)
- Uncontrollable abdominal spasms and pain
- Chronic gas and bloating issues
- Trouble passing gas or defecating
- Rectal pain and bleeding
- Loose and water stools
- Weight loss
If the pelvic pain doesn’t have a connection with urination or bowel movements, you may have unexplained pain. The symptoms of unexplained pain are pelvic pain that’s ongoing or triggered by touch or pressure. You may also have rectal pain or pain in the genital area.
Pain during intercourse
Dyspareunia is pain during intercourse. The cause may be linked to other pelvic floor disorders or have no known reason. Other pelvic floor dysfunction includes vulvodynia and vaginismus. (4)
- Vulvodynia is burning or stinging pain at the vaginal entrance in an area called the vulvar. (5) For some women, the pain is throbbing and constant and for others triggered by pressure from penetration, inserting a tampon, or even wearing tight clothing. Women who suffer from vulvodynia may have localized pain in one spot or generalized pain that covers the entire vulvar.
- Vaginismus is uncontrollable spasms in the vaginal pelvic muscles. The contractions may have a trigger or become chronic, causing sexual intercourse to be painful. Many women start to avoid sexual intimacy altogether.
- Vaginal stenosis is the narrowing or shortening of your vaginal canal. The reasons for this painful condition can be from having pelvic radiation therapy, going through menopause, or an unknown reason.
Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the uterus begins to grow outside of the uterus. The pelvic pain condition is most common for women in their 30s and 40s. It can make becoming pregnant difficult and cause severe pain during and after intercourse. (6)
Medical textbooks define prostatitis as the swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland. The walnut-shaped gland may become infected or have no known cause. The risks for prostatitis include bladder infection, prostate cancer, and pelvic floor muscle tension. When you have prostatitis, one of the main signs in chronic pelvic pain. (7)
What are the treatments for pelvic pain?
While the exact cause of pelvic and abdominal pain may be elusive for many men and women, one proven holistic therapy is pelvic physical therapy. It’s a specialized form of physical therapy that alleviates your symptoms naturally. (8)
The holistic medical treatment is a manual massage that targets critical trigger points while stretching and strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. You can work with a trained pelvic floor therapist to relieve pain or treat sexual dysfunction in the privacy of your home.
Diagnosis and treatment plan
Before beginning pelvic therapy, speak with your healthcare provider. During your consultation, you can go in-depth about your medical and sexual history to find the right treatment plan for you. It may also be useful to have pelvic pain therapy in conjunction with other self-care therapies, such as sex counseling or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). A combination of CBT and pelvic physical therapy may increase your pelvic health and improve your life forever.