Sunday, 16 January 2011

The onset of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)

I've spoken about hip and back pain but this past week mine has intensified 10 fold and has spread, leading to some research into it.

I see my midwife for the first time tomorrow so Im hoping she can recommend something to help or give me some advice, but its yet another pregnancy symptom I never knew about before I got pregnant. As far as I've read physiotherapy is the only thing which may help, but some women find it makes things worse, so its just a matter of trying it if she refers me. If I ever doubted I was allergic to pregnancy, theres no doubting it now.

What I have is undoubtedly SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) as upon reading about hip pain, I came across this and its like reading my own diary. The past few days have been particularly worrying, as at night in bed I'm pretty much frozen in one spot and have to work up the courage to attempt to turn over as it causes so much pain and a horrid crunching, grinding noise with it. Sitting up or even worse having to get up to go to the loo in the middle of the night is almost unbearable. Last night I could barely walk with the pain. Apparently pain while moving in bed and trying to get up in the middle of the night are big signs of having this condition.

As severe nausea and vomitting for me is worse than pretty much anything else or feeling pain, I can handle it, as horrid as it is. My main fear though is that I am only 5 months pregnant. I have 4 months to go and a lot of growing to do, so I wonder how I'll be for the last couple of months when I'm really large. I have read some women need to go into wheelchairs with this, have to use walkers/crutches and can't go upstairs and things like that. Its beginning to be a real fear, I could fit into this category as the pain is already so severe so early on.

The labour is also a worry as most women with SPD are induced early as the labour can make the conditon so much worse and cause a lot of damage. They also don't recommend an epidural (which I want) as you cant tell if you're causing yourself more damage. Breast Feeding (which I also want to do) lengthens the time the woman suffers from SPD. Some women end up with the conditon for years after giving birth.

Annoyingly the SPD has started off my sciatica. I pretty much knew I'd suffer from that in my pregnancy as I've had it for a lot of years now and my doctor did warn me that it was pretty much inevitable. I did naively hope that I wouldnt have that many problems with it until the last 2 months or so. Its funny when I think of how positvely and happilly I entered into pregnancy with no knowledge of any of this. I watched woman after woman have straightforward, rewarding pregnancies and had no reason to think I'd be any different.

Ive put a little below about what SPD is to give you an idea.

What is symphysis pubis dysfunction?

The two halves of your pelvis are connected at the front by a stiff joint called the symphysis pubis. This joint is strengthened by a dense network of tough, flexible tissues, called ligaments. To help your baby pass through your pelvis as easily as possible, your body produces a hormone called relaxin, which softens the ligaments. As a result, these joints move more during and just after pregnancy causing inflammation and pain, known as symphysis pubis dysfunction or SPD.

What causes SPD?

We are not sure exactly what causes SPD, but it's thought that if one side of the pelvis moves more than the other when you walk or move your legs, the area around the symphysis pubis becomes tender. The amount of discomfort isn't related to the size of the gap in the joint. Many women with a normal-sized gap feel a lot of pain.

When does it happen?

SPD can occur at any time during your pregnancy or after giving birth. Many women notice it for the first time around the middle of their pregnancy. If you have SPD in one pregnancy, it is more likely that you'll have it again next time you get pregnant. The symptoms may also come on earlier and progress faster, so it is important to seek help promptly.

What are the symptoms?

Pain in the pubic area and groin are the most common symptoms. But you may also have the following signs:

  • Back pain, pelvic girdle pain or hip pain.

  • A grinding or clicking sensation in your pubic area.

  • Pain down the inside of your thighs or between your legs. It can be made worse by parting your legs, walking, going up or down stairs or moving around in bed.

  • Worse pain at night. It can stop you sleeping well and getting up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night can be especially painful

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