Womens Health

Pelvic Girdle Syndrome

Increased Risk

Pelvic girdle syndrome is associated with pain in both iliosacral ligaments as well as in the symphysis pubis. A new study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and Akershus University has shown that women with diabetes have an increased risk for this syndrome. Of the 5% of women reported to have experienced severe pelvic girdle syndrome during their last pregnancy, 3% were found to have diabetes, while only 0.5% of those women without diabetes had experienced this syndrome during their pregnancies. That means that the women with diabetes had a 7 fold risk for a serious case of pelvic girdle syndrome.

Little Change

Malin Eberhard-Gran, with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and lead author of the study wrote up his results in an article entitled, Diabetes mellitus and pelvic girdle syndrome in pregnancy—is there an association?" which was printed in the journal Acta Obstetrica et Gyneocologica in collaboration with Professor Anne Eskild, a member of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and a staff member of Akershus University Hospital. Eberhard-Gran stated, "Even after we controlled for other factors such as obesity, age and number of previous pregnancies, these numbers changed little."

Doctors aren't really sure what causes pelvic girdle syndrome, but since the syndrome tends to occur during the first trimester, the school of thought that the syndrome is caused by mechanics is a weak one, while the idea that hormones are responsible for the condition is the stronger hypothesis. The insulin-like pregnancy hormone known as relaxin softens the pelvic joint and this appears to be the main culprit in pelvic girdle syndrome. Women with type 1 diabetes are known to have higher levels of relaxin. This would indicate a physiological connection between pelvic girdle syndrome and diabetes.

Pelvic girdle syndrome during pregnancy impacts in great measure on quality of life for the mother. The condition can be quite painful. Eberhard-Gran believes his study proves that, "there is a basis for further research on the role hormonal factors play in the development of pelvic girdle syndrome."

The study was based on the results of a questionnaire filled out by women between the ages of 18 and 40 who had given birth in one of two municipalities in Akershus. There were standard questions about lower back pain or pelvic pain during the latest pregnancy. Another question sought to determine the presence of pre-gestational diabetes during the previous year. The survey included 1,816 women.

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