Pelvic pain affects up to one in five women and one in 12 men. Pelvic pain can be associated with a range of symptoms, including bloating, bowel and bladder troubles, muscle spasms, painful sex, fatigue, anxiety and low mood. Common forms of pelvic pain include period pain, endometriosis and irritable bowel. A pelvic pain condition that occurs in both men and women is called pudendal neuralgia. It is an irritation of or pressure on the pudendal nerve, which is caused by childbirth, injuries, cycling, long-term constipation and strong pelvic floor muscles.
Treatment for pelvic pain varies widely depending on the condition. Endometriosis may benefit from laser ablation and there is anecdotal evidence dietary changes (low gluten) help by reducing inflammation. For pudendal neuralgia, Botox injected into the pelvic floor muscles or pudendal nerve blocks can provide significant pain relief. Other treatments that may help include physiotherapy, daily stretches, heat pack and medication. Multidisciplinary pain management combined with self-management will also be important.