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Symptoms

Symptoms of osteitis pubis can be mild at first but worsen with activity. If you have osteitis pubis, you might experience some combination of the following:

  • Your pelvis is painful to the touch.
  • Your lower abdomen hurts.
  • You experience pain when coughing, sneezing, or using abductor muscles.
  • There may be a popping or clicking sound when you rise from a seated position or when walking.
  • You experience weakness or a loss of mobility and flexibility.
  • You have a fever or chills.

In later stages of osteitis pubis, you may develop an irregular walk or gait. Because many of these symptoms also mimic those of a hernia or lower back pain, it’s important to consult with your doctor to get the right diagnosis.

When to See a Doctor

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of osteitis pubis, you should schedule an appointment to talk to your doctor. This is especially important if the symptoms are worsening or do not improve with rest. Seek out medical care immediately if you experience any numbness in your groin or pelvic area.

Causes

Osteitis pubis is usually caused by one of the following:

  • Surgery. Osteitis pubis is a well-known complication of some kinds of gynecological [geye-nih-kuh-LOJ-ik-al] surgery.
  • Sports injury. Overuse and overextension during activity can lead to osteitis pubis.
  • Pregnancy. Due to hormones that shift the gap between the pelvic bones to accommodate childbirth, women may develop osteitis pubis while pregnant or after giving birth.
  • Trauma or accident. Injury to the pelvic region may cause the inflammation and bone stress that is present in osteitis pubis.
  • Rheumatological [roo-muh-tol-LAW-juh-kul] disorders. Conditions that cause inflammation throughout the body may result in osteitis pubis.

Diagnosis and Tests

To determine if you are suffering from osteitis pubis, your doctor will probably conduct a physical exam and talk with you about your personal and family medical history. If further information is needed to make a diagnosis, your doctor may recommend one of the following tests:

  • Blood or urine tests
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI
  • CT scan
  • Bone scan

Some of these tests may be done to rule out other causes for your pelvic pain such as a hernia or other joint dysfunction or injury.

Treatments

Treatment for osteitis pubis can involve one of two different approaches: non-surgical or surgical. Non-surgical treatment can involve some combination of the following:

  • Heat and ice therapy
  • Rest
  • Physical therapy
  • Medicine like anti-inflammatories and pain relievers

Surgical treatment is only advised in severe cases that do not respond to non-surgical treatment. This type of surgery involves fusion and can have a long recovery period of up to a year.

Prevention

While you may not be able to avoid osteitis pubis because of surgical complications, there are some steps athletes and pregnant women can take to avoid injury and inflammation. These include:

  • Stretching and warming up the muscles before exercise
  • Taking time to rest and recover after strenuous activity
  • Using proper footwear and supportive clothing while exercising
  • Avoiding exercise on hard surfaces and uneven ground

If you are experiencing symptoms of osteitis pubis regularly, you may want to consult with your doctor, an orthopedic specialist, or a physical therapist to get more information about how to prevent pelvic strain with strengthening exercises and stretches.

What is Osteitis Pubis?

Osteitis pubis [os-tee-EYE-tis PYOO-bis] is a condition in which the pubic bone or the surrounding tissues are inflamed and sore. This pain is most often related to complications from surgery but has also been found to occur in athletes. Early diagnosis of osteitis pubis is important to avoid further pubic bone stress.

It can also be a result of symphysis pubis dysfunction [sim-fuh-sis PYOO-bis dis-FUHNK-shun] during pregnancy. Hormones cause the gap between the pelvic bones to widen in preparation for childbirth, but can also cause overextension and inflammation in the pelvic area that results in osteitis pubis.