May is Pelvic Pain Awareness Month
Register here to join the free yoga therapy session I am offering to help spread awareness. https://aliciacugliettayogaschedulingpage.as.me/PelvicPainAwareness
According to Pelvic Pain.org, 25 million Americans and 25% of the world’s population suffer with chronic pelvic pain. Often silently due either to stigma around the pelvic region or lack of/access to health care.
What does Pelvic Pain feel like?
Pelvic pain can manifest in different areas and ways. Below are some examples but know that it is not an exhaustive list.
- Lower abdominal pain/pressure
- Lower back pain
- Hip and leg pain
- Ongoing cramping that feels like intense period cramps
- Muscle spasms that cause sharp stabbing pain in an area or a dull aching pain that spreads throughout many areas.
- Pain on or around the vulva
- Pain/pressure around and/or in the anus
- Pain with sex or tampon use that can linger on for hours
What Causes Pelvic Pain?
Many things can cause pelvic pain. It often comes from what’s known as Hypertonic Pelvic Floor, which is a tight, gripping, chronically contracted pelvic floor. (This is not to be confused with strong. It is weakness with the muscles stuck in a contracted state. Think of doing a bicep curl and your arm being stuck in the position without being able to relax it back down.)
Often when we experience ongoing physical or emotional pain, we grip and hold against it. Over time this creates imbalance and pain, or more pain if pain is the culprit.
Some common causes of physical and emotional pain are:
- Trauma to the area either due to difficult birth or improper/lack of care after birth, accident, injury or sexual abuse/assault
- Digestive issues such as chronic constipation, IBS, Crone’s Disease, etc.
- Constantly gripping/holding to prevent leaks (incontinence)
- Chronic UTI’s
- Medical conditions such as endometriosis, bladder/uterus/rectal prolapse
- Over training for athletics such as running, lifting or anything that puts a tremendous, repetitive strain on the Pelvic Floor muscles
- Sedentary lifestyle (poor physical shape) where the muscles in and/or around the pelvis contract to try to provide support to the body
- Psychogenic pain (pain that is primarily caused by psychological factors, such as depression and anxiety)
Very often it is a combination of things mentioned above, resulting in the pelvic floor muscles chronically contracting, gripping and holding against pain and discomfort.
Please note, pelvic pain is not always related to an underlying condition. If it comes on abruptly and doesn’t last (not chronic), it may be caused by:
- Menstrual cramps
- Bloating or gas
How is Chronic Pelvic Pain Treated?
From holistic to surgical, treatments vary. Medications, hormone therapy, yoga therapy, physical therapy, trigger point injections, Botox injections, valium suppositories… the list goes on and on. Diagnosing the underlying cause would determine which course of action a person takes. A combination of treatments with a team of pelvic health specialists may be warranted.
How does Yoga Therapy Help?
One of the lovely things about yoga therapy is that it addresses the whole person, creates a safe space for self-discovery/awareness, breathes, stretches, strengthens, relaxes deeply. All of which support you wherever you are in your discovery/treatment experience, whatever the cause.