The women in the study had normal vaginal discharge, but their pelvis was missing, and the woman in the hospital had a pelvis defect that was a rare condition in the U.S. The researchers, from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, wanted to find out if there was something they could do about it.
They looked for pelvic ultrasound images taken after a woman gave birth and found the pelvic area had been damaged and missing.
But this wasn’t the only area of the pelvic floor that the women’s pelvic area didn’t show up in.
“We also found pelvic bone abnormalities that we didn’t have in the normal women,” Dr. John Schulze said.
So they asked a third group of women in their study to come back the next morning and do the same scan.
The women had normal cervical health, but the scans showed they had a pelvic bone defect.
Dr. Schulz explained that while women with pelvic bone defects usually have pain during labor, in some women this is a normal pain that lasts longer than expected, and sometimes doesn’t heal.
“It’s a bit like the pain you feel in your back in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s,” he said.
It can also cause pain during childbirth.
The problem with the pelvic scans is that a woman with a pelvic fracture might have pain in the pelvis.
“In a way, they’re like an open wound,” Dr Schulzes said.
“The pain is going to get worse as you get older, but that pain might be more severe and persistent, even after you’ve been in pain for years.”
In the study, which was published online this week in the journal PLOS One, Dr. Michael Todner, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine in New York, and his colleagues examined pelvic scans of 1,800 women in this U.K. study.
These women were randomly assigned to either a control group that had normal pelvic scans, or a group of healthy women who had normal scans.
In the control group, women had regular Pap tests, and were not given antibiotics, and had a follow-up pelvic scan about six months later.
In contrast, the women in that study were given antibiotics for two weeks and had the pelvic scan in the third trimester.
This meant that the researchers could see the scans without taking antibiotics.
“For the first time, we were able to look at the entire pelvis without just looking at the normal vaginal area,” Dr Todners said.
He also had the scans taken when the women were not pregnant.
“So, the pelvic region was not totally destroyed,” Dr John Schuze said, and this allowed the researchers to see the pelvic fractures in women who were pregnant.
The pelvic bones of women who gave birth in the control study had more than doubled in size over the two-week period after they had the scan, Dr Schuzes said, but it didn’t mean they were more fragile.
“They’re just not that fragile,” he added.
“This is not a new finding.”
This is not the first study to look for pelvic fractures.
In a study of 7,200 women who went to the Mayo Clinic and underwent a pelvic ultrasound, Dr John Toderson, an assistant professor of gynecologic surgery at the Mayo Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, found that some women with abnormal pelvic bones, known as pelvic discectomy, were more likely to have pelvic fractures than healthy women.
“Pelvic fractures were seen in 5.4 percent of the women who did not have a pelvacoscopy, compared to 2.8 percent of women with normal pelvic bones,” Dr Tom Todson said in a statement.
But Dr Schurze said this study wasn’t looking at a large number of women.
It was looking at women who’d had surgery, and those women were about half as likely to develop pelvic fractures as healthy women, but they also had more pelvic fractures, Dr Tode said.
Women who had surgery were more than three times more likely than the women with no surgery to develop a pelvic injury, he added, but there was no clear correlation between the two.
Dr Schuler said that this study was an important step forward.
“If we know that women who have normal pelvic bone health and have normal scans can expect to have normal outcomes, then the pelvic arch can be corrected and pelvic health can be improved,” he explained.
“Our study showed that women can have a healthy pelvis with no pelvic pain, which means that if we’re going to improve pelvic health, we need to do that in a healthy way.”