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Why Pelvic Pain Hurts: Understanding the Neuroscience Behind the Ache

by | Pelvic Pain

The Short Story: 

  • 1 in 7 women experience chronic pelvic pain
  • The pain is caused by a complex interplay of nerves and the brain
  • Treatment options include physical therapy, nerve blocks, and medication

The Deep Dive: 

Pelvic pain is no laughing matter, but understanding the neuroscience behind it might make things a little easier.

First things first, let’s talk stats. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 1 in 7 women experience chronic pelvic pain, and according to the British Medical Journal, that prevalence ranges from 2.1% to 24% of the female population worldwide  That’s a lot of ladies walking around with a constant ache in their nether regions. But why exactly does it hurt so much?

Well, turns out it’s all thanks to our lovely friend, the nervous system. The pelvis is home to a complex network of nerves, including the pudendal nerve (which controls sensation in the genitals and anus) and the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves (which control the muscles in the pelvis).

When something goes wrong in this delicate dance of nerves, it can lead to pain. For example, issues with the pudendal nerve can cause vulvodynia (pain in the vulva) or proctalgia fugax (pain in the anus). Meanwhile, problems with the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves can lead to conditions like interstitial cystitis (bladder pain) or endometriosis (painful periods).

But it’s not just problems with the nerves themselves that can cause pelvic pain. Sometimes, the brain gets involved too. Studies have shown that chronic pelvic pain can actually change the way the brain processes pain signals, leading to a cycle of increased pain sensitivity.

Now, you might be wondering, “Okay, so my brain is messing with me. Great. How do I fix it?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always straightforward. Pelvic pain can be caused by a variety of factors, and finding the right treatment that suits you can take some trial and error. Physical therapy, nerve blocks, and medication are all options, but it really depends on the individual case. 

If you find yourself grappling with pelvic pain, taking charge of your well-being can start right at home. Consider exploring a tailored self-help program crafted by Pelvic Physical Therapists. These at-home resources offer a holistic approach, including calming techniques for your central nervous system through guided exercises and meditations. Empower your brain to release more feel-good chemicals, aiding in the lowering of pelvic tension and promoting a pathway towards relief. Remember, the journey to managing pelvic pain is unique for each individual.

Pelvic pain is a serious issue that affects a lot of women, and it’s caused by a complex interplay of nerves and the brain. But don’t lose hope! With the right treatment and some patience, you can get relief from that pesky pelvic pain.

For more information on ways to manage your pelvic health visit https://pelihealth.com/pelvic-courses/ 


Disclaimer: Pelvic issues are serious conditions and should be treated accordingly. Peli health’s attempt at making the tone funny is to lighten the mood and help the reader feel more relaxed when reading about this subject. We are not medical doctors. We do not diagnose illness. The information on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. nor does it constitute providing medical advice or professional services. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider regarding a medical condition. 

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