Relationship between Constipation and Persistent Pelvic Pain

Relationship between Constipation and Persistent Pelvic Pain

It is not a common belief that there is a relationship between constipation and persistent chronic pelvic pain. It is actually quite a controversial debate with strong supporters for each side. Though the studies haven’t conclusively shown a result, the dozens of studies should be taken into consideration especially those performed by Advanced Physical Therapy Education Institute (APTEI).

Constipation is a serious problem. It is a common condition in western countries. Though laxatives are the most common strategy for release, they can potentially cause harmful side effects including increasing the severity of constipation itself (1).  Constipation can be caused by eating and exercising patterns, medication and/or disease.  If untreated, it may lead to faecal impaction or incontinence and bowel damage (2). Abdominal massage have been argued as the most effective and non-invasive solution though not a replacement for laxatives. Studies also show that abdominal massage decreases severity of constipation and the pain and/or discomfort accompanying it, as well as increase bowel movements (3). There is clear evidence that constipation was significantly more prevalent in women with chronic pelvic pain, though the chronic pelvic pain does not worsen the pain of constipation (4).

It is clear that though we are starting to understanding the relationship between chronic pelvic pain, constipation and abdominal massage, there is still a lot to learn. The studies, though inconclusive, can guide us in the right direction. At this time, what we do know is that there definitely is a strong correlation between pelvic pain and constipation.  It has brought our attention to the inter-relationship of internal system function and skeletal system issues.

Sources:
(1)    Sinclair M. The use of abdominal massage to treat chronic constipation. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2011 Oct; 15(4): 436-45
(2)    McClug D., Lowe-Strong A. Does abdominal massage relieve constipation? Nurs Times. 2011 Mar 29-Apr 4; 107(12):20-2
(3)    Lamas K., Lindholm L., Stenlund H., Engstrom B., Jacobson C. Effects of abdominal massage in management of constipation-a randomized controlled trial. Int J Nurs Stud. 2009; 46(6): 759-67
(4)    Modesto W.O., Bahamondes L. Relationship between chronic pain and functional constipation in women of reproductive age. J Reprod Mod 2011 Sept-Oct; 56(9-10): 425-30

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