Could a Hernia Be Causing Your Pelvic Pain?
Last updated: September 2020
For as long as I can remember, I have had some sort of pelvic pain. The type of pain that would just radiate down the legs. As a kid, I chalked it up to just being active. But as I got older, I knew something more was going on. Most doctors ignored it, saying it was probably just my ovaries and cysts causing the pain and to "go home and relax". Those words are something I know many of us have experienced from doctors, in some form. And we all know how frustrating it is to hear that.
But when the pain was not getting better and trying every remedy out there was not helping, I demanded someone to listen to me. This ended up leading to my endometriosis diagnosis. To my surprise, it was endometriosis causing me so much pelvic and leg pain. I was feeling confident that because I had surgery, things would get better and this pain would be gone.
The pain lingered
Only a few short months after surgery, that same pain came back. And this time, it was way worse than it was before. It made no sense. Unfortunately, every doctor I saw, told me I had to basically live with this pain and just try my best to find things that helped. That was the best these professionals could do for me? Tell me to live with this pain and try MY best to figure it out? As angry as I was, that is what I ended up doing.
Finding an endometriosis specialist
Last summer, I finally realized just how much pain I was actually in every day and that something was not right. Whether endometriosis had grown back from my previous surgery or something other was going on, I knew something was wrong. I researched endometriosis specialists near me and finally found one that took my insurance and was willing to see me. During my first appointment he sat there quiet, listening to me talk. Something I was not used to. I explained what happened during my first surgery and the type of pain I was feeling and where exactly it was. That was when he looked at me as if he 100% knew the answer.
It's most likely a hernia
He told me majority of the patients he has seen, who have come in with this pelvic and leg pain, have hernias. He explained that hernias are hard to diagnosis because a lot of the time they have no symptoms. And when they do, like in my case, doctors brush it off as just a reproductive organ causing issues and pain. It started to make sense when he explained more about the hernia, where it probably was and why no other doctors have thought about that possibility yet. Sometimes, hernias can be so deep that it is hard to see them on an ultra sound. So just like with endometriosis, surgery is needed.
My endometriosis specialist set up surgery and included a general surgeon, just incase he was correct about the hernia. When surgery day came, I was feeling anxious that the general surgeon or my specialist would find nothing and my pain would still be a mystery. But when I woke up from the anesthesia, my general surgeon was standing by me to tell me the news. He had removed an inguinal hernia on my right side and fixed up the area with some mesh.
That reassurance I am not crazy
That feeling I had felt during my first surgery when my doctor told me they did find endometriosis, came flooding back to me. I wasn't crazy or making up this pain. These hernias had been lingering for who knows how long causing me so much pain. They were real. My pain was real. All of this pain I was feeling in my pelvic region and legs was coming from these hernias sitting there. Now that they have been removed, I have experienced less pain. Pain still does linger from time to time on that side, and sometimes I think it could be the mesh, but it is still a lot more tolerable than before. We aren't 100% sure how I got the hernia. Lifting something heavy or a weakened area around my incision from my previous surgery are some ideas. But I am now extra careful when lifting things, to try and prevent from another one coming back!
If you are experiencing pelvic pain that your doctors cannot seem to figure out, it could be a possibility you may be suffering with hernias as well. Doesn't hurt to bring the topic up with them. Stay tuned for my next piece. I will go into more detail on what hernias are, types of hernias and some symptoms to look out for.
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