May is pelvic pain awareness month, and pelvic pain is a topic I am asked about so frequently that it bears talking about from a variety of angles. So many women and men live day in and day out with pain in their pelvic region, buttocks, genitals, pubic area, tailbone, groin, bladder, genitals, rectum. It can get in the way of day to day activities like sitting, walking, sleeping, sexual activity, exercising, working, or child care. It can change your mood, your focus, your ability to engage with people you want to (or just need to) spend time with and pay attention to.
It's is a term that you may hear about and may have read a lot about. If you have pain somewhere in “that area” that is hard to describe, you have probably already done some research online to try to figure out what is wrong. You may have even found some possible suggestions as to how to solve this problem.
But how do you know whether what you have is Pelvic Pain?
When we say "pelvic pain", we’re talking about a number of different problems, with one term, so let’s break it down.
The Conundrum of Bladder Pain Syndrome
According to the Interstitial Cystitis Association (ICA), as many as 3 to 8 million women and 1 to 4 million men in the US experience symptoms of the condition known as Interstitial cystitis, painful bladder syndrome, or hypersensitive bladder syndrome.
Symptoms can include bladder pain, a sense of urinary urgency, or frequent sensation of needing to urinate even when the bladder is not full. These sensations can occur with bladder filling, with voiding, with sitting, exercise, or sexual activity. They are sometimes reduced or alleviated by urinating, but often only for a short time. Sometimes pain is absent, and urinary urgency/frequency is the only symptom.
Helping health-oriented people overcome pelvic health problems, and live the life you love!
Deborah S. Cohen
Specialist Pelvic Health Physical Therapist