What causes pelvic pain? That’s not such an easy question to answer, since many conditions such as fibroids—could be to blame. In fact, this symptom is now so common, the app called Hale can now help you track your treatment options. Also, enough women suffer that there’s a need for an official Pelvic Pain Awareness Month in May. (Note: that’s pretty close to this month’s Fibroid Awareness month. And, during this month, we’re highlighting fibroid symptoms like chronic pelvic pain, to demonstrate how disruptive these uterine growths can be.)
Now, the toll of pelvic pain is high. As many as 70% of women living with this condition develop anxiety and depression. Making that worse? Many women don’t know what causes their pelvic pain. Even worse, their doctors don’t take time to help them find answers. The result? According to a survey conducted by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, women now seek answers in all the wrong places. Namely, the internet and social media.
Searching to Find Out What Causes Pelvic Pain
As we said earlier, many different conditions can lead to chronic pelvic pain. From fibroids to endometriosis or adenomyosis, it’s often hard to get the correct diagnosis. And that difficulty is exacerbated because many women who discuss symptoms with doctors get ignored or dismissed.
Maybe that’s why this new survey revealed that patients with chronic pelvic pain were twice as likely to use social media to understand or manage their condition than those without pain. In fact, 37.8% of women with pelvic pain sought health answers online compared to 19.7% of women living without this disruptive symptom.
The survey authors explain, “Social media is increasingly becoming a health resource for people suffering from complex and debilitating health conditions.” And that’s a problem because the internet doesn’t have all the answers.
Who Needs to Learn More About Pelvic Pain?
Which women were included in this survey? Included were 517 women, each presenting with a new complaint of pelvic pain between February 2018 and April 2019. All of these women visited gynecologists at the Cleveland Clinic Florida, Legacy Health, Oregon Health & Science University, Scripps San Diego, Vanderbilt or the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (Each of these hospitals offers minimally invasive gynecologic treatments like the kind we provide at our Dallas Fibroid Center.)
Now, you already know that women with pelvic pain hit the internet for answers at a higher rate. But that wasn’t the survey’s only important finding. In fact, it turns out that women in the pelvic pain group were more likely to become highly engaged with social media.
First, almost 40% of women with pain used social media as a way to cope with their discomfort. They had more trust for information they found on social media. They were also motivated by interpersonal engagement when they were online, while preferring interactive elements to their searches.
Likewise, these women had more trust for other women with similar symptoms, and they were less likely to trust doctors and formal health resources. All in all, this suggests that hearing and asking questions about other women’s treatment journeys could really matter to women who want to know, what causes pelvic pain.
As interventional radiologists offering minimally invasive fibroid treatments, that last fact matters a lot. Because, we can shout about UFE from the rooftops. But we know you’ll hear it better from women who have lived through your experience. And that’s why we highlight our #WCW series whenever possible. Which, as it turns out, goes right along with what the study authors recommend.
Giving Women Answers Online and in the Dallas, TX
The study revealed how hard it still is for women to answer, what causes pelvic pain? In fact, women in the pain group saw an average of just under 3 physicians before getting a diagnosis. And that means we all have more work to do.
So, what do the study authors suggest? Here’s their takeaway message. “Our study suggests that higher social media use and engagement stems from medical needs unmet by the formal health care system.” And, to close that needs gap, doctors must create “a patient care environment in which both social media and formal care can exist together.” This, they say, will lead to better patient outcomes.
Pelvic Pain Relief with UFE
Luckily, this is nothing new to our Dallas area fibroid experts. Our mission is to help you find reliable information, and lasting pain relief. So, while you work on discovering what’s causing your pelvic pain, check out some tips for helping improve pelvic pain: 42% of women can find relief for both pelvic and period pain with masturbation. Now, that’s just one option for finding pelvic pain relief. But we know you’ll still have questions, so we always invite you into the office for a comprehensive consultation.