Diabetes Increases Risk of Pelvic Girdle Syndrome

Pregnant diabetic women might be at increased risk of suffering from pelvic girdle syndrome (PGS), according to a recent Norwegian study. Past research had shown that the hormone relaxin, was related to both PGS and type 1 diabetes, but this is the first study to investigate a potential direct link between PGS and diabetes. PGS is characterized by pain in the pelvis of women during pregnancy. More specifically, PGS accounts for “pain in the anterior pelvis and bilateral posterior pelvis.” This pain can range in severity, from dull to severe, and usually occurs during the first half of a given pregnancy. Hormone’s are believed to be the likely cause of PGS, with the relaxin hormone being one candidate as a leading contributor. “The hormone relaxin helps to soften the pelvic joint and has been associated with pelvic girdle syndrome problems,” states the studies news release. The relaxin hormone is a type of “insulin-like growth factor,” and its levels have been shown to be increased in pregnant women with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by diminished insulin production, subsequently leading to external insulin-dependence through injections. 1,816 mothers between 18-40 years of age participated in the study. It was found that five percent of these women had some level of PGS during their last pregnancy. Of these women with PGS, three percent had diabetes, while only half of a percent of women without PGS had diabetes. Diabetic women were in fact seven times more likely to have severe PGS than non-diabetic women. The above observations were consistent, regardless of various potential interfering factors. According to researcher Dr. Malin Eberhard-Gran, “even after we controlled for other factors such as obesity, age and number of previous pregnancies, these numbers changed little.” Diabetic women should now be aware of the increased possibility that they will have severe pelvic pain during pregnancy. A full understanding of the connection between PGS, diabetes, and the likely link, relaxin, is a goal for the future, and could lead to treatments for these at risk women. Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Eberhard-Gran, Malin. Eskild, Anne. Norwegian Institute of Public Health news release. November 2008.