Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) is discomfort that occurs in the area below your belly button and between your hips that lasts for 6 months or longer. It could be caused by a number of conditions (reproductive, urinary, digestive), or it might have no cause at all. If you have pelvic pain that doesn’t go away, see your doctor. She’ll work to find out what’s behind it. In the meantime, there are a number of things you can do at home to feel better. This article outlines six of them.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers. Taking ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a good first step for CPP relief. Take them as directed to reduce the swelling that can lead to chronic pelvic pain.
- Get moving. It might be hard to think about exercise when you feel you can’t get off the couch—but you must. Exercise increases blood flow. What’s more, when you work out, your body releases feel-good chemicals (doctors call these “endorphins.”) These are you body’s natural painkillers. Just 30 to 45 minutes of moderate exercise -- like speed walking -- 5 or 6 days a week can help to relieve your pain.
- Take the heat. It helps increase blood flow, which may help reduce your pain. Sit in a tub full of warm water to provide relief during flare-ups. If you don’t have a tub, then a heating pad or warm compress on your belly can work just as well.
- Make a change. Just tweaking some of your habits can have an effect on your pain. If you smoke, stop. Nicotine -- the active ingredient in tobacco products -- inflames nerves and triggers pain. If you’re overweight, shedding the extra pounds may help ease pressure on nerves and, in turn, relieve pain.
- Try supplements. In some cases, chronic pelvic pain is linked to lower-than-normal amounts of key vitamins and minerals in the blood. Vitamin D, vitamin E, and magnesium supplements may help to soothe chronic pelvic pain. Talk to you doctor before you decide to take any over-the-counter nutritional supplements. Herbs might also provide relief from chronic pain. Dong quai, licorice, evening primrose oil, and willow all help to ease inflammation naturally. Again, check with your doctor before taking any herbs.
- Relax. Meditation, yoga, and even deep breathing exercises can help to reduce the stress and tension that can make chronic pain even worse. Another bonus: They might help you sleep better.