What Is Myofascial Pelvic Pain Syndrome?

Dr. Jolene BrightenPublished: Last Reviewed: Wellbeing Leave a Comment

Myofascial Pelvic Pain Syndrome (MPPS) is a type of pelvic floor disorder caused by tight muscles within the pelvic floor, which often contain trigger points. The inappropriate contraction and tension in these muscles lead to pain in the pelvis, bladder, vagina, vulva or rectum. When pressure is applied to these muscles there can be a referral of pain to other areas of the body, including the lower abdomen, thighs and buttocks.

What are the symptoms of MPPS?

  • Pelvic and/or abdominal pain
  • Dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
  • Dyspareunia (pain with sex)
  • Rectal fullness or constipation
  • Heavy sensation in the pelvis
  • Dyschezia (difficulty having a bowel movement)
  • Vaginal, bladder or rectal spasms
  • Loss of sleep due to pain
  • Pain, burning sensation or heaviness with prolonged sitting

There is often some degree of myofascial dysfunction in women who have been diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain.

What causes MPPS?

The cause of MPPS is often unclear and may be attributed to multiple factors, including trauma, childbirth, pelvic organ disease, repetitive motions, psychological causes and issues in how the nerves and muscles may be communicating. For this reason, a thorough work-up is necessary to determine whether the symptoms of pelvic pain are due to issues with the muscles alone or if there are additional underlying causes of the pain.

How is MPPS diagnosed?

After taking a thorough history, your provider will complete a physical exam to determine what systems are involved and rule out any other potential causes of pelvic pain. It may be necessary to do a complete gynecological examination along with ordering appropriate laboratory tests. Pelvic floor muscles will need to be evaluated for tone, tenderness and function. This evaluation may be done over multiple visits.

How is MPPS treated?

Since MPPS often has multiple causes, the treatment will likely entail a multidisciplinary approach. The primary treatment for MPPS is physical release, strengthening and stretching of the muscles involved. Holistic Pelvic Care is a technique that is utilized to treat MPPS in this way. In addition, treatments may focus on creating pelvic stability, realignment of bones and improving the strength and function of postural muscles. In some cases, botanicals or pharmaceuticals may be utilized to decrease pain while the patient undergoes treatment.

The development of MPPS is unique for each person, therefore, the treatment must focus on the individual and their specific needs to be effective.

To learn more about pelvic pain and explore your treatment options, please consider contacting Dr. Jolene Brighten for a complimentary phone consultation.

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten, NMD, is a women’s hormone expert and prominent leader in women’s medicine. As a licensed naturopathic physician who is board certified in naturopathic endocrinology, she takes an integrative approach in her clinical practice. A fierce patient advocate and completely dedicated to uncovering the root cause of hormonal imbalances, Dr. Brighten empowers women worldwide to take control of their health and their hormones. She is the best selling author of Beyond the Pill and Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth. Dr. Brighten is an international speaker, clinical educator, medical advisor within the tech community, and considered a leading authority on women’s health. She is a member of the MindBodyGreen Collective and a faculty member for the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine. Her work has been featured in the New York Post, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Bustle, The Guardian, Sports Illustrated, Elle, and ABC News. Read more about me here.