Pelvic pain refers to pain that occur in the region of the pelvis. Acute pain is usually more common than chronic pain. Chronic pelvic pain is pelvic pain that lasts for more than 6 months. Pelvic pain can be experienced by both men and women.
In women, diagnosis involves going through history, examination, pregnancy tests, bloodwork, imaging studies, and possible surgical evaluation. While there may be some cases where there is no visible pathology, it should not be the basis for professionals to seek psychological explanations but instead to approach the issue from a psychophysiological perspective. In male patients, the diagnosis of chronic pelvic pain involves the exclusion of other diseases. It is often misdiagnosed as chronic bacterial prostatitis, causing patients to be unnecessarily treated with antibiotics leading to side effects without any benefit. Treatment options may involve a physical therapist consultation, use of anti-inflammatory drugs, neurological agents, hormonal therapy, hysterectomy, myofascial trigger point release, phytotherapy, and relaxation techniques.
Most females will have experienced pelvic pain at some point in life such as experiencing lower abdominal pain or going through puberty. In the year 2007, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic pelvic pain was the reason for 9 percent of all visits to gynecologists.
Cause #1: Pudendal Nerve Entrapment
Pudendal nerve entrapment or Alcock canal syndrome is an uncommon condition where there is compression or entrapment of the pudendal nerve. The pain is often worsened when sitting and may include fecal incontinence, urinary incontinence, and genital numbness. Among cyclists, it is known as the “cyclist syndrome” where there is numbness of the scrotum and penis after prolonged duration of cycling.
There can also be reduced awareness of defecation, disturbance of urination, and altered sensation during ejaculation. Pain is often relieved by standing, caused by sitting, and absent when lying down.