IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, is a common problem affecting the large intestine. Its symptoms include constipation, abdominal pain, cramping, bloating and diarrhea. Although some of the more common causes of pelvic pain are gynecological, IBS and its symptoms may also contribute to this condition. Finding ways to manage IBS may also relieve the pelvic pain you experience.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
To understand IBS, you must first understand how your intestinal tract works. Layers of muscle line your intestines, contracting and relaxing in a natural rhythm, moving food through your intestinal tract to your rectum where it is then eliminated. If you have IBS, these contractions are stronger, lasting for longer periods of time, explains MayoClinic.com. One of two things can result – food either moves too quickly through your intestinal tract, causing diarrhea, bloating and gas, or it moves too slowly, resulting in constipation. Patients with IBS experience a variety of symptoms, one of which is chronic abdominal pain. It typically presents as a crampy sensation in the lower abdomen with varying degrees of intensity.
Diagnosing pelvic pain can be difficult. It has several causes, the symptoms of each mirroring one another. GYNOB.com explains that appendicitis can cause the same pain as an infection of the fallopian tubes, while irritable bowel syndrome can mimic the pain of endometriosis. Adhesions, which are scarring from internal surgery, is a common cause of pelvic pain as well. They can lead to bowel blockage, which requires emergency treatment.
Managing IBS may also help relieve pelvic pain. MayoClinic.com states the exact cause of IBS is not known, but changing your dietary and lifestyle habits can help you manage your symptoms. By taking fiber supplements, you can control constipation, while anti-diarrheal medications control diarrhea. Your doctor can prescribe medication to control spasms in your intestines that cause abdominal pain and cramping. Reducing your consumption of foods high in gas, such as cabbage and broccoli, help prevent bloating and abdominal discomfort as well.
Relieving pelvic pain begins with proper treatment. Due to the number of possible causes, be sure to discuss your symptoms thoroughly with your doctor. Tell him if the pain tends to occur during menstruation, or during a bowel movement. Let him know if you have problems with frequent constipation, diarrhea or both; these are signs of IBS. Give him your family history as well. MayoClinic.com explains that you face an increased risk of IBS if your parent or sibling has this condition