Pelvic pain can be a very isolating experience. Many women feel embarrassed and ashamed to talk about it, which only makes the pain worse. It’s important to know that you’re not alone in your pain, and there are many ways to manage it so that you can live your life without worrying about being in constant discomfort or having to miss out on activities with friends or family members because of pelvic pain.
Eat healthy foods
So you want to take care of your pelvic floor. That’s great! What does that mean for the foods you eat? There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to eating healthy, but the first thing is to make sure you’re getting enough protein. Protein helps build muscle and having strong muscles can help prevent incontinence. You also need vitamin D because it helps your body absorb calcium, which we’ll get into later—and calcium is important for keeping bones strong and preventing osteoporosis. So make sure you’re eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, veggies, and other whole grains like oats or brown rice; fish such as salmon or sardines; eggs; nuts (like almonds); seeds (like sunflower) and legumes (beans). And if possible consider taking supplements like vitamin D3 drops if you don’t get enough sun exposure during the day.*
Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for the health of your pelvic floor. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight may increase the risk of pelvic floor problems. However, maintaining a healthy weight is important for preventing long-term health problems such as obesity and diabetes.
If you are overweight or obese, we recommend that you eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly (at least 150 minutes per week). A registered dietitian can help you plan meals that meet your needs while also reducing your intake of fat and sugar. Your doctor may prescribe medications to help with weight loss if necessary.
Stay as active as you can
- The best way to stay active:
It can be tricky to know how much exercise is enough, and how often you should be doing it. But for people with pelvic pain, a routine of moderate physical activity is recommended. Moderate means something that makes you breathe a little harder than usual, but not so hard that it’s difficult to talk in full sentences or walk around normally afterward (so no sprinting or lifting weights). See what works for you! Some examples include walking briskly or even jogging slowly; light resistance training, such as squats; and yoga poses like a downward-facing dog.
- How often should I do this?
We recommend 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week—that includes exercise time plus time spent moving around at work, school, and home throughout the day. If possible, try to schedule your exercise early in the morning so that it doesn’t interfere with your sleep schedule at night!
Stretching is an easy and effective way to reduce pelvic pain. Stretching can help improve your overall health in a variety of ways, including reducing the risk of injury, improving posture and circulation, alleviating stress and tension in the back muscles and neck, increasing flexibility and range of motion, reducing low back pain, and strengthening abdominal muscles.
You can stretch at home or work by doing these simple exercises:
- Tilt your pelvis forward until you feel a stretch in your lower back area. Hold this position for 10-20 seconds then relax. Repeat three times on each side daily (before exercise).
- Lie on your back with your knees bent as if you were sitting on a chair (use pillows under your knees if needed). Extend arms overhead with palms facing up; slowly lift one arm off the floor as high as possible without lifting shoulders off the floor; hold for 5 seconds then alternate sides (again before exercise).
Practice Kegel exercises
As we mentioned, Kegel exercises are performed by contracting the pelvic floor muscles.
To do Kegel exercises, sit or stand with your knees slightly apart and squeeze the muscles you would use to stop urinating midstream (be aware that other muscles can also be activated). Hold for a count of three, then relax. Repeat this process 10 times in a row or more. You might feel a little silly doing Kegels at first — but they’re very effective!
You can do them anywhere — sitting, standing, or lying down — so don’t worry about being noticed while you’re at work or out in public. As you practice regularly, you’ll notice that it becomes easier to contract these muscles more quickly and hold them longer than before
Pelvic pain is treatable and manageable.
Pelvic pain is a common, treatable condition that affects nearly one in five women at some point in their lives. Pelvic pain can be caused by stress, anxiety, or depression and often worsens during a woman’s period. In addition to pelvic pain, discomfort can be felt in the lower abdomen and back as well as between the legs.
It’s not just women who suffer from pelvic pain; men experience it too. Men with chronic pelvic pain may also experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which causes cramping and diarrhea/constipation symptoms
Some people use the term “pudendal neuralgia” to describe this nerve disorder because they believe it causes extreme burning sensations along with tingling or numbness in their genitals—but there’s no scientific evidence supporting this claim.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises are thought to relieve symptoms by strengthening these muscles; however, studies show mixed results when it comes to whether these exercises produce long-term improvements for patients with IC/BPS/Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding (DUB).
If you’re experiencing pelvic pain, these tips can help you plan to manage it. Women shouldn’t have to suffer in silence. If you are having problems with your pelvic area, please talk to your doctor and find out what options are available for treatment. There is no reason why women should feel embarrassed or ashamed about seeking help for an issue that affects so many of us.