Heyl Family Practice

Digestion and Pelvic Pain

Clients are often surprised to learn that their digestion plays a big role in their pelvic pain. Pelvic pain is pain that arises anywhere in the pelvis, so problems like tailbone pain, sacroiliac joint pain, hip pain, pubic symphysis pain, and even some back pain can all be impacted by how well you digest your food. Problems like constipation, bloating, and even irritable bowel syndrome (diarrhea or constipation) can all affect pelvic pain!

The Gut-Pelvic Pain Connection

The human body is an intricately interconnected system, and disruptions in one area can have cascading effects elsewhere. The gut, often referred to as the 'second brain,' communicates with various organs and systems, including the pelvic region. When the digestive system is not working as well as it could,, it can contribute to pelvic pain and discomfort through several mechanisms.

  • Inflammation: Digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or food sensitivities can lead to chronic inflammation. This inflammation can affect neighboring structures, including the pelvic organs, exacerbating pain and discomfort.
  • Nervous System Interactions: The gut and the pelvic region are both regulated by the autonomic nervous system. Imbalances or dysregulation in the gut can influence the pelvic nerves, contributing to pain sensations.
  • Microbiome Influence: The gut microbiome, a diverse community of microorganisms residing in the digestive tract, plays a crucial role in maintaining digestive health. Imbalances in the microbiome can contribute to digestive issues and, consequently, pelvic pain.
  • The core pressure system: The core (pelvic floor, abdominals, and diaphragm) create a pressure system that houses the organs, including the intestines and stomach, both involved in digestion. Other organs that also assist with digestion are housed here” the pancreas, gallbladder, and liver. When the core is not functioning as it should, muscles can place pressure on the organs and shift how the organs function.

Constipation, diarrhea and pelvic pain

  • Constipation and pelvic pain

    This is one we see most commonly. Constipation is more than just not pooping every day. It can be that, but also you can be considered constipated if your stools are hard, you don’t feel like you emptied completely after sitting on the toilet, you’re straining, or you’re bloated.

  • How constipation can contribute to pelvic pain

    Stool takes up space in the intestines and can put pressure on the pressure system. Often if you’re constipated, your abdominal muscles will be tight and we might find trigger points or taut bands of muscle. This creates more pressure in the middle of the pressure system and if the pelvic floor is weak or lacking coordination, it can cause pain in any area of the pelvis.

    Another way constipation might affect pelvic pain is from a tightening of the pelvic floor muscles. Sometimes, when someone has constipation, it is less of a hard stool problem, and more of a coordination problem with their pelvic floor. Basically, they don’t know how to relax their pelvic floor properly to allow poop to come out. When this happens, it can also cause pain in the pelvis. When muscles are tight they can become painful.

  • How Diarrhea can contribute to pelvic pain

    IBS-D is characterized as having frequent loose and watery stools. It’s caused by a variety of factors including food intolerances, changes in nerve function, and glut imbalances. We find that most of our clients who struggle with this also struggle with managing their stress, which manifests in their gut.

    Often when women struggle with diarrhea for more than a few days, the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor become tight. Tight muscles can become painful over time!

    We ask all our clients detailed questions about digestion and their poop, so we can work through this if it’s a contributing factor!

  • What to do if you struggle with constipation, diarrhea, and pelvic pain

    If you struggle with these, the first best step is to remind yourself that you’re not alone. Often, these symptoms are not talked about and can lead to shame, which can intensify the pain. Then, take a deep breath and realize you’re one step closer to overcoming your digestive problems and pelvic pain! Knowledge is power. You know now that you need to solve one to solve the other.

    Next, book a free consult with us in Wexford, PA or Greensburg, PA, so we can hear your story and help you find clarity on YOUR next best step. We help women every day with problems like this stop worrying about where the closest bathroom is and get back to enjoying life.

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