Coconut oil has a long history of use with indigenous peoples of many tropical regions. An excellent source of saturated fatty acids, it is often used medicinally to stimulate metabolism, promote digestion and relieve constipation. Coconut oil also displays mild anti-inflammatory properties and makes excellent massage oil, which may help treat pelvic nerve pain both internally and externally. However, pelvic nerve pain such as sciatica has a variety of causes, some potentially serious, and relying on coconut oil as your only remedy is not recommended. Consult your doctor or chiropractor if you experience moderate to severe pain in your pelvis or low back or down the back of your thighs.
Coconut oil is made from crushing the kernels of mature coconuts from tropical palm trees. Pure coconut oil is a rich source of medium-chain fatty acids, which are considered the healthiest type of saturated fat because they are quickly processed for energy and not immediately stored, according to the “Textbook of Nutritional Medicine.” As such, they are not linked to increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The majority of the saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, although capric and caprylic acids are plentiful, too. These fatty acids display antimicrobial, antioxidant and mild anti-inflammatory properties.
Potential Oral Anti-Inflammatory
Virgin coconut oil has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in animal studies, according to the “Natural Standard Herb & Supplement Reference.” The fatty acids in coconut oil reduce inflammation by stimulating the production of interleukin-10, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and reducing certain compounds that promote inflammation, such as interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor. Consequently, consuming virgin coconut oil may help reduce the inflammation and pain from pelvic nerves and muscles, although more research on people is needed before specific recommendations can be made.
Potential Topical Anti-Inflammatory
Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer and works well on all skin types. The fats in the oil rarely lead to irritation or allergic reaction. Although not supported by any scientific research, massaging coconut oil into the muscles nearest to where your pelvic nerve pain is felt might provide some relief. If your pelvic nerve pain is vaginal, coconut oil can safely be used in a douche, and its antibacterial and antifungal properties are helpful for combating infections that can trigger nerve pain. Furthermore, it can be used as a carrier oil for herbal remedies commonly used to reduce sciatic nerve pain, which is the largest nerve that runs through the pelvis. Wintergreen, peppermint, cayenne pepper, mustard, garlic or turmeric can all be mixed with coconut oil and applied externally to pelvic muscles.
Coconut oil is safe to consume in moderate quantities and to apply to all areas of your pelvis. Whether it can reduce pelvic nerve pain depends on many factors, including the location of the nerve and the cause of the pain. For example, if your sciatic nerve is “pinched,” then manual therapy such as chiropractic or physiotherapy is likely to be much more effective than consuming or applying coconut oil. On the other hand, if your pain is caused by irritated surface nerves in your vagina, then applying coconut oil may provide immediate relief, especially if infection is the primary issue. Consult your doctor about the common causes of pelvic pain.
- Textbook of Nutritional Medicine; Melvyn Werbach and Jeffery Moss
- Natural Standard Herb & Supplement Reference: Evidence-based Clinical Reviews; Catherine E. Ulbricht and Ethan M. Basch
- Textbook of Functional Medicine; David S. Jones