What Is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction – Symptoms & Causes

Do you often feel the need to urinate? Have you experienced irregular bowel movements and a constant case of constipation? These symptoms might not be that much common. Some of these are telltale signs of a hidden pelvic floor dysfunction.

Studies show that around 23.7% of women in the United States are suffering from at least one kind of pelvic floor dysfunction.

And it is more prevalent in aged men and women. Read to know more about what is pelvic floor dysfunction and how you can treat it.

What Is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

A pelvic floor is a group of muscles, tissues, and ligaments that support organs in the pelvis such as the bladder, urethra, uterus, prostate, rectum, etc.

Pelvic floor dysfunction is characterized by difficulty in regulating these muscles around the pelvis region. Many factors contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction.

Some of them are being overweight, pregnancy, pelvic surgery, age, injuries to the pelvic area, etc. In some people, it can occur as part of a hereditary condition.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

When you have pelvic floor dysfunction, the muscles around the region contract rather than relax during pelvic movements.

Not treating the condition might lead to discomfort and in the long term to infection and colon damage.

Symptoms Of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Pelvic floor dysfunction is characterized by a different set of symptoms.

Some of these symptoms can even hinder the smooth functioning of your daily life and activities.

The common symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction are:

👉 Frequent urge to urinate or pain during urination.

👉 Issues with bowel movement or constipation.

👉 Incontinence or leaking stool or urine.

👉 Pain around your pelvic region.

👉 Overactive bladder.

👉 Pressure and a feeling of a bulge around the lower pelvic region.

👉 Lower back pain

👉 For women, pain during sexual intercourse.

👉 Incomplete urination.

How You Can Test It?

Before providing proper treatment, a doctor will start diagnosing your condition by asking you several questions on symptoms and any possible medical history.

They might collect information regarding any history of urinary tract infections and interstitial cystitis.

The doctor might also conduct a physical exam to analyze how healthy your pelvic floor muscles are. Or they will also examine the pelvic health using an intrarectal exam or vaginal exam. 

Some of the other tests that measure the possibility of pelvic floor dysfunction are surface electrodes, anorectal manometry, defecating program test, uroflow test, etc.

How Can You Treat Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

If you are diagnosed with pelvic floor dysfunction, your healthcare provider will analyze the causes behind it and provide a suitable treatment accordingly. Some of these treatments include:

👉 Medications– Some kinds of medications can relax pelvic muscle contractions and keep your bowel movements smooth and regular. These medications are available as over-the-counter drugs. Some of these are MiraLAX, Colace, senna, etc.

👉 Biofeedback– Another way to treat your pelvic floor dysfunction is through biofeedback. It is carried out with the assistance of a physical therapist. They use special sensors and video to examine your pelvic floor muscles. Using this information, they will provide you with suggestions to improve the condition.

👉 Dietary changes– For some people, making certain changes in their diet can relax their pelvic floor muscles. Including more fiber in the diet and drinking more water can smoothen bowel movements.

👉 Kegel exercises– These are specific exercises that can tighten your pelvic floor muscles. It is especially beneficial for people who have an overactive bladder. 

👉 Pessary– It is a special type of device that is inserted into the vagina to prevent the prolapse of organs. This device can aptly reduce some symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction.

👉 Surgery– If your conditions are severe such as rectal prolapse where your rectal tissue merges into an anal opening, surgery will be needed. 

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The Bottom Line

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common medical condition that can affect both men and women. But it is more prevalent in women and aged people. If left untreated, the condition can lead to worsened situations.

By understanding the underlying causes, a healthcare provider can deliver a proper treatment plan for you.

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