pelvic pain

Pelvic Pain 101

No one likes being in pain. Pelvic pain could be caused by a number of things, but it’s definitely not “normal” and getting to the bottom of your pelvic pain is my number one priority.

Where does pelvic pain start?

To get a good grasp on your pelvic pain, you have to have a basic understanding of the part of your body that’s in pain

Your pelvic floor muscles attach behind your pubic bone and run like a trampoline around your pelvis, ending at the tailbone and bottom part of your spine, known as the sacrum. These muscles have four major functions for all humans no matter your anatomy. These functions include:

  1. Support of your pelvic organs
  2. Provide structure to your spine and hips
  3. Bowel and bladder continence 
  4. Sexual appreciation


*For the purposes of this blog, we will refer to those assigned female at birth as females or women and those assigned male at birth as males or men. We acknowledge that there is a beautiful array of genders and that gender does not convey anatomy.

You may be asking – wait, you’re specifying differences in females and males, but only females have a pelvic floor, right? It’s a common misconception, but everyone has a pelvic floor, no matter your sex assigned at birth.

While the pelvic floor functions are the same across all genders, there are still structural differences between males and females that can affect what problems people report. For instance, men can struggle with pelvic floor dysfunctions such as difficulty maintaining or achieving an erection. While women can struggle with pelvic floor dysfunction during postpartum.

Regardless of your gender identity the pelvic floor is a major component of your body. And when you are experiencing pelvic pain, the joy and fun of life is suddenly stolen away. But I am here to tell you that there is hope for a better future even if pelvic pain has been plaguing your present.

Causes of pelvic pain

Because your pelvic floor is such an important part of your body, there’s a lot of different things that can affect it and cause pelvic pain.

The list includes, but isn’t limited to: 

  • Appendicitis
  • Bladder disorders (such as urinary tract infections)
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Kidney infection or kidney stones
  • Intestinal disorders (such as diverticulitis or colitis)
  • Nerve conditions (such as pudendal neuralgia)
  • Hernia
  • Fractured bones in the pelvis or spine
  • Psychogenic pain (pain related to traumas)
  • Pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, and miscarriage
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Ovulation and menstrual cramps
  • Ovarian cysts or other ovarian disorders
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Cervical, Uterine and Ovarian cancers

It’s a lot, huh? That is why it’s important to find a competent pelvic floor physical therapist to properly diagnose and treat your pelvic pain

Which causes of pelvic pain can a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist (PFPT) help with?

Believe it or not, a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist (PFPT) can help you ease pelvic pain from most causes! PFPTs treat pelvic pain by teaching you exercises, recommending products like vaginal dilators, mobilizing tight muscles, and recommending changes in your everyday life that may be causing your pelvic floor issues to flare up.

Even in instances of cancer, pelvic floor physical therapy can help retrain the muscles that were affected either directly or indirectly. Cancer and its subsequent treatment options such as surgery, chemo, or radiation can affect the tissues and/or your hormones. Pelvic floor physical therapy is a great way to address any of these concerns in a holistic manner to improve pelvic pain that you may experience or other side effects of treatment such as constipation. 

Effects of pelvic pain

Let’s face it – as humans, pain is an unfortunate part of life, but experiencing pain in an area that is so crucial to your body’s support can wear on you. If you’re dealing with pelvic pain, you may also be dealing with:

  • Pain during sex or after sex, or sexual dysfunction
  • Stress on your mental health
  • Secondary effects, such as bad posture, back aches, pain when walking or getting on and off a bicycle

Pelvic pain can intrude on every aspect of your life – don’t let it.

Exercises for general pelvic pain

There are many pelvic floor exercises that you can try at home to help alleviate your pelvic pain (though, if you’re experiencing chronic pain, I will always suggest making an appointment with a pelvic floor physical therapist ASAP to get to the root cause of your pain.)

Yoga is a great place to start: yoga benefits include increased flexibility, support for your cardiovascular health, increased muscle strength, and so much more.

Additionally, I can’t recommend stretches and breathing exercises enough. The great thing about these exercises is that you can do them absolutely anywhere, with no equipment needed.

Top products for pelvic pain

If you’re ready to get started on addressing your pelvic pain, it’s time to find a pelvic floor physical therapist that can help!

Once you’ve been assessed and diagnosed, a pelvic floor physical therapist may recommend some PT products for treatment such as:

  • Dilators: A dilator, or insert, is (most times) a plastic rod with a rounded end that’s used by those with middle-openings and vaginas to – you guessed it – dilate, or open, and/or stretch tissue. They keep the vagina from becoming too narrow and can be used to practice relaxing your pelvic floor around.
  • Vibrators: Are you surprised? Vibrators aren’t only for use in sexual play, but in pelvic floor treatment as well! Vibrators with a flat head at the end, can be used to stimulate muscles both externally and internally. They’re often used to decrease pain, assist with incontinence, and other urinary symptoms. 
  • Massage Equipment: Because your body so heavily relies on your pelvic floor to keep it up right and steady, if you have tension in other supporting muscles, you could be putting too much pressure on your pelvic floor. Use massage balls, rollers, and resistance bands. 
  • Exercise Balls: Small exercise balls can be used to sit on and help relieve pelvic floor tension. 

How to work with Dr. Laura to identify the source of your pelvic pain

I am so happy to be able to offer FREE 20-minute discovery calls to help you get to the root of your pelvic pain. It doesn’t matter where you’re located in the world – if you have access to the internet be it via computer, tablet, or phone, we can start your pelvic floor recovery journey.

If you’d like more resources on pelvic floor physical therapy, pelvic pain, or the pelvic floor in general, make sure to check out my Youtube channel, instagram and other blog posts.

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