Pelvic pain is a common enough medical complaint that can affect women or men. There are variations in intensity and duration, with some experiences persisting for six months or more (known as chronic pelvic pain). Pelvic pain is often experienced by patients who have just had surgery but there are many other symptoms.
Pelvic pain: what are the symptoms?
A frequent symptom of pelvic pain is pain in the joints in that area - as well as the lower back and his. This can lead to difficulty walking. This is often experienced in pregnant women but not exclusively. Women who aren’t pregnant can succumb to pelvic pain, as can men. Injury or trauma may be associated with the condition.
Understanding the pelvis
To understand how this pain can occur it’s important to understand how the pelvis actually works. The pelvis is closely linked to the spine, specifically the base of the spine (known as the sacrum). The pelvis also accommodates the hip joints on either side. The way the pelvis interacts with these other bones is via the sacroiliac joints. So any problems affecting this who area, such as injuries to the lower back, or issues with the hips, will naturally impact on the pelvic area.
Pelvic pain and pregnancy
In pregnant women, pelvic pain can start at any time, and is manifested in different ways. Sometimes patients get an uncomfortable throbbing in the groin. As well as pubic pain, there may be tenderness to touch. It can become difficult to climb stairs and shifting position in bed might be painful. Other common symptoms include ‘sciatica’, which involves pain in the buttocks or right down the leg.
Other issues associated with pelvic pain
An unfortunate side effect can be bladder dysfunction. This can lead to temporary incontinence during a change in position.
Causes of pelvic pain in pregnancy
During pregnancy there is an increase in the hormone relaxin. This causes ligaments to soften. The knock-on effect is that the muscles around the lower back and the pelvic area have to work so much harder to compensate. The overworked muscles will start to cause a painful reaction to this. Pelvic pain is also exacerbated as the baby grows, causing changes in posture.