Chronic pelvic pain is common in women and men. Worldwide, millions suffer with this condition. It’s not a life-threatening condition, but chronic pelvic pain syndrome symptoms can severely impact a person’s quality of life and self-esteem. Daily activities like sex, urination, or even sitting become unbearable.
When patients are asked to locate their pain, they sweep their hand over their entire pelvic area rather than point to a single spot and describe their chronic pelvic pain in one or more of the following ways: severe and steady pain, pain that comes and goes (intermittent), dull aching, sharp pains or cramping, pressure or heaviness deep within their pelvis. Also they may experience: pain during intercourse, pain while having a bowel movement or urinating, pain when they sit for long periods of time, etc. Their discomfort may intensify after standing for long periods and may be relieved when they lie down. The pain may be mild and annoying or it may be so severe resulting in work absence, lack of sleep and/or exercise.
In men this pain is associated with voiding symptoms and/or pain located in the groin, genitalia, or perineum in the absence of urinary tract infection or in the prostate. In men, no two patients are alike. Some men might experience brief and mild pain symptoms, while others will have symptoms that severely affected their overall quality of life.
In women many causes have been identified:
- Endometriosis: condition in which tissue from the lining of the womb (uterus) grows outside the uterus. These deposits of tissue respond to the menstrual cycle, just as the uterine lining does - thickening, breaking down and bleeding each month as the hormone levels rise and fall. Because it's happening outside the uterus, the blood and tissue can't exit the body through the vagina. Instead, they remain in the abdomen, where they may lead to painful cysts and fibrous bands of scar tissue (adhesions).
- Musculoskeletal problems: conditions affecting your bones, joints and connective tissues, such as fibromyalgia, pelvic floor muscle tension, and/or inflammation of the pubic joint.
- Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian remnant, fibroids uterine growths, irritable bowel syndrome, painful bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis, pelvic congestion syndrome, enlarged, varicose-type veins around the uterus and ovaries); psychological factors (depression, chronic stress or a history of sexual or physical abuse).
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