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Why Do Women Over 60 Years Have Pelvic Pain?

Pelvic pain after menopause can be due to psychological and gynecologic factors. After menopause, many changes occur in a woman’s body that weakens the reproductive and genital organs.

These lead to a decrease in estrogen levels. The tissues surrounding the vaginal opening thins and make the body susceptible to infections and other symptoms.

Causes of Pelvic Pain In Elderly Woman

Women between 50 and above often experience pelvic pain after menopause. The pain usually comes as a dull ache or sharp shooting pain around the abdominal areas or the lowest part of the torso, between the lower abdomen and hip bones.

Pelvic pain in women may be mild or severe and can last up to 4 to 6 months. In addition, the pain may be constant or recurring, which makes the pelvis area sensitive to touch when it happens.

Most women experience pelvic pain from time to time; this may be due to gynecology disorders or psychological factors.

Warning symptoms of pelvic pain in older women include;

  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • Fever and chills
  • Lightheadedness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Sudden loss of consciousness
  • Sudden pain accompanied by nausea, nervousness, and excessive sweating

Pelvic pain symptoms in older women are sometimes similar to symptoms in younger women. The difference, however, lies in signs of urinary and digestive tract disorders.

Elderly women who experience the following in addition to pelvic pain should seek immediate medical attention.

  • Sudden onset of Indigestion
  • Unexpected changes in bowel movement
  • Sudden loss of appetite and weight loss

Cause Of Pelvic Pain After Menopause

Menopause is the period when a woman’s menstrual cycle ends. During this period, the ovaries stop producing estrogen, and rapid changes in the genital organs occur.

After menopause, the estrogen levels decrease, leading to the weakening of the reproductive organs. As a result, the Fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries become smaller.

Likewise, the clitoris, urethra, and vagina tissues found at the opening of the vagina and urethra start to thin.

This thinning may lead to vaginal dryness, irritation, and discharge, increasing the chances of vaginal infections.

As the body ages, there is a decrease in muscle and connective tissues and ligaments that support the genital organs such as the rectum, uterus, and vagina.

Sometimes, these changes result in bowel incontinence, difficulty controlling urination, pelvic pressure, pain during sexual intercourse.

Although this may occur in most women after menopause, women who have had many children are more likely to experience such problems.

These age-related changes in reproductive organs do not always interfere with sexual activity.

For example, after menopause, the ovaries and adrenal glands produce male sex hormones responsible for slowing muscle loss, maintaining sex drive, and overall sense of well-being.

Common Reasons For Pelvic Pain In 60 Year Old Women

Menopause

When a woman’s menstrual cycle ends, her body undergoes different changes, especially in the reproductive and genital organs.

These changes can sometimes result in difficulty controlling bowel movement, pain, and discomfort in the abdominal areas.

Pain may be a dull ache or a sharp shooting cramp sensation. The pelvis area also becomes tender to touch.

Cystitis or Urinary Tract Infection

After menopause, the tissues surrounding the vaginal and urethra opening start thinning, making the body more susceptible to infections.

Bacterial infections occur when bacteria from the rectal, skin, or vagina enter the bladder through the urethra.

Appendicitis

Appendicitis is a common condition caused by an inflammation of the appendix (a narrow tube on the right side of the lower abdomen).

Symptoms of appendicitis may include sharp pain in the affected appendix, fever, and vomiting.

Sexually Transmitted Infection

Pelvic pain may sometimes indicate a sexually transmitted infection. Sexually active women are prone to STI’s such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.

In addition to pelvic pain, other symptoms of STI include painful urination and vaginal discharge.

Less Common Causes Of Pelvic Pain In 60-Year-Old Women

Uterine Fibroid

Uterine Fibroids are harmless small benign growths in the womb wall or uterus.

Although most uterine fibroids occur before a woman goes through menopause, they also shrink or stop growing once you hit menopause.

However, older women may still suffer from uterine fibroid with symptoms such as pelvic pressure persisting long after the period ends.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition that develops when the tissues lining the womb start growing in other parts of the body, such as the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, or bowel.

It is most common in older women between ages 30 and 40. Rare cases may, however, occur after menopause. Symptoms include;

  • Lower back pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Painful urination and bowel movements

Ovarian or Uterine Cancers

Ovarian or Uterine cancer is common in older people and can cause abdominal pain and pelvic cramping. Symptoms include;

  • Fatigue or extreme tiredness
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Vaginal bleeding

Chronic Constipation

Pelvic pain, pressure, and gastrointestinal issues are common symptoms of chronic constipation.

Physicians describe constipation as having less than three bowel movements per week. Individuals experiencing constipation usually pass stools that are hard, and painful.

Constipation can be caused by;

  • Medications
  • Lack of exercise
  • Low fiber diet
  • Medical conditions

Treatment For Pelvic Pain In 60 Year Old Women

The treatments for pelvic pain after menopause varies depending on the underlying cause and symptoms. A diagnosis may sometimes help to determine the cause of pain. During this process, the physician carries out tests and asks questions such as;

  • Onset of pain
  • Duration of pain
  • Type of pain experienced
  • Frequency of pain
  • Other symptoms that may occur

Here are some remedies to try;

Medications

Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen can help relieve pain. Nonetheless, contact your physician for recommendations to avoid side effects.

Hot therapy

Placing a heat pack on the affected area can also relieve pain.

Maintain Normal Bowel Movements

Storing urine can put pressure on your bladder and lead to abdominal pain. Instead, maintain regular bowel movements, drink enough water, and practice simple workout routines.

Other treatment for pelvic pain after menopause;

Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is a surgery that involves the removal of part or all of the womb. It is also used to treat cervical cancer. Other cancer treatments include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or radiation therapy.

Physicians recommend surgical processes based on the type of cancer, the stage, and how far it has spread.

Progestin therapy

Progestin therapy is used to treat endometrial hyperplasia. The physician may prescribe it as an oral tablet, injection, vagina cream, or intrauterine device.

Pelvic pain and cramps after menopause may be mild and not necessarily a severe case. However, if you experience abdominal pain with no particular cause, you should seek immediate medical attention.

In addition, stay hydrated, do not prolong bowel movements, eat healthily, and incorporate simple workout routines into your daily life.

References:

MSD Manual: Pelvic Pain

MSD Manual: Effects Of Ageing On The Female Reproductive System

Healthline: What Causes Cramps After Menopause

MedicalNews Today: What Can Cause Cramps After Menopause

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