May is Pelvic Pain Awareness Month. For some, this is a month to learn about something they’ve never heard of, but for others, it’s more than just a month because whether it’s chronic or sporadic pain, it’s comforting to know you’re not alone.
There are many layers to the pelvis. What pelvic pain means for one person may not be the same for the next. Someone may have vaginismus and another could have similar symptoms, but actually have vulvodynia.
Some experience sporadic spasms in their pelvis which can feel like you’re being kicked in the crotch, some may experience pain before and after urination, and of course, a common symptom is painful sex. The thing about pelvic pain is that there’s no set cookie cutter definition. Well, it’s pain in the pelvis, but the type of pain experienced can range from burning or aching to stabbing. It goes beyond defining the type of pain, because for some the pain can change since it can be triggered by stress, physical trauma, or even hormonal imbalance. In a 24 hour span someone could have aching pelvic pain triggered from stress, or have burning after urination.
One of the worst parts is that pelvic pain can trigger emotional pain, as it can bring on a lot of shame and embarrassment. It can be deflating to experience and some may feel unsupported. If this is you, know that we get it and we see you. We received a story from a DivaCup user about her experience with pelvic pain. Give it a read below.
“When I first went to my doctor about the pain, he told me I must be dry ‘down there’ or that I must have an STI. The problem was that neither of those were true, and the pain kept happening for the next couple years. I then started using the DivaCup, and I didn’t have pain while wearing it, but I found removal difficult at times. This is when a lightbulb went off in my head and after many Google searches, I discovered that it must be related to my pelvic floor. I went to a pelvic physio therapist and finally started understanding my body and symptoms. I have an overactive pelvic floor, hence all the spasms. I have exercises and devices that help calm down my muscles. It takes a lot of patience and consistency, but I’m so relieved there’s finally an answer. It’s not 100% resolved, but after a year of working with my body instead of ignoring the pain, I can now wear the DivaCup, go pee with no pain, and I’m having more pain-free sex than before. When the pain started I couldn’t even walk after inserting a tampon, so in that way, the DivaCup has been a game-changer because it doesn’t hurt once I have it inserted.”
If you can relate to any of the symptoms mentioned above and have been told similar things by your doctor, we recommend taking control of the situation and looking into pelvic physio therapy. This type of therapy could help you get to know your body and the root of why the pain is happening. Pelvic physio therapy can also help with incontinence, pain with intercourse, pelvic floor relaxation and post-partum.
We are by no means doctors, but we do know that because of the lack of conversation about pelvic pain, some may not be getting the help and resources they need. For more info about pelvic physio therapy, check out our blog to see if it could be a fit for you. There are also a number of online support groups and great resources that can help you learn more about pelvic pain. These groups also offer great support from those who may be experiencing the same symptoms as you. You could start by typing ‘pelvic pain support’ or ‘pelvic health support’ into Google or Facebook and you’ll be surprised by all the online groups and resources available to you.
May is Pelvic Pain Awareness month, but it’s great to know that organizations like the International Pelvic Pain Society are working year-round to ensure the research, resources and support continue for those who need it most.