Pelvic floor dysfunction is the incapacity to relax and coordinate your pelvic floor muscles to urinate. Constipation, straining to defecate, urine or stool leaks, and a frequent need to pee are all symptoms. Biofeedback, pelvic floor physical therapy, and medicines are among the first-line therapies.
What is pelvic floor dysfunction?
Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common condition where you’re unable to correctly relax and coordinate your pelvic floor muscles to urinate or have a bowel movement. If you’re a woman, you may also feel pain during sex, and if you’re a man, you may have problems having or keeping an erection (erectile dysfunction or ED). Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles found in the floor (the base) of your pelvis (the bottom of your torso).
If you think of the pelvis as the home to organs like the bladder, uterus (or prostate in men) and rectum, the pelvic floor muscles are the home’s foundation. These muscles act as the support structure keeping everything in place within your body. Your pelvic floor muscles add support to several of your organs by wrapping around your pelvic bone. Some of these muscles add more stability by forming a sling around the rectum.
The pelvic organs include:
- The bladder (the pouch holding your urine).
- The uterus and vagina (in women).
- The prostate (in men).
- The rectum (the area at the end of the large intestine where your body stores solid waste).
What is the root cause of pelvic floor dysfunction?
The precise causes of pelvic floor dysfunction are unclear. However, a few of the recognised causes are as follows:
- Injury to the pelvic region as a result of a traumatic event (like a car accident).
- Overuse the pelvic muscles (such as going to the toilet too frequently or pushing too hard) can impair muscular coordination.
- Surgery on the womb.
- Being excessively fat.
- Getting older.
Is it possible that pelvic floor dysfunction is inherited?
Pelvic floor dysfunction can be inherited. This is referred to as a hereditary condition. Researchers are investigating a possible hereditary source of pelvic floor dysfunction.
Is it true that pregnancy causes pelvic floor dysfunction?
Pregnancy is one of the most prevalent causes of pelvic floor dysfunction. After giving delivery, many women have pelvic floor problems. During pregnancy, your pelvic floor muscles and tissues might get stretched, especially if your labour was lengthy or tough.
Treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction
Fortunately, in many situations, pelvic floor dysfunction may be addressed very quickly. If you require physical therapy, you will most likely feel better, but it may take several months of appointments. Pelvic floor dysfunction is treated non-surgically. Non-surgical therapies include the following:
- The most frequent therapy is biofeedback, which is performed with the assistance of a physical therapist. Biofeedback is non-invasive and helps more than 75% of patients with pelvic floor dysfunction. To retrain your muscles, your physical therapist may utilise biofeedback in a variety of methods. They may, for example, employ special sensors and cameras to monitor your pelvic floor muscles as you relax or clench them. Your therapist will next provide feedback to you and work with you to improve your muscular coordination.
- Physical treatment for the pelvic floor is frequently combined with biofeedback therapy. The therapist will assess which muscles in your lower back, pelvis, and pelvic floor are extremely tight and will give you exercises to stretch these muscles in order to enhance their coordination.
- Medicines: Taking daily medications to make your bowel motions smooth and regular is a crucial aspect of treating pelvic floor dysfunction. Some of these medicines, such as stool softeners MiraLAX®, Colace®, Senna, or generic stool softeners, are available over-the-counter at pharmacies. Your primary care physician or a gastroenterologist can advise you on which drugs will help keep your stools soft.
- Relaxation tactics: Your doctor or physical therapist may also advise you to try relaxation techniques including meditation, warm baths, yoga and exercises, or acupuncture.
Is there a difference between men and women when it comes to pelvic floor dysfunction?
Several pelvic problems affect men and women differently.
Male pelvic floor dysfunction:
Every year, millions of men worldwide suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction. Because the pelvic floor muscles act as part of the waste (excretory) and reproductive systems during urine and intercourse, pelvic floor dysfunction can co-exist with a variety of other male health issues, including:
Male urinary dysfunction can cause leaking urine after urinating, rushing to the bathroom (incontinence), and other bladder and bowel problems.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED): ED occurs when men cannot obtain or maintain an erection during intercourse. Sometimes the cause is pelvic muscle tension or discomfort, but ED is a complicated illness. Therefore this is not always the case so better consult with a sexologist first.
Prostatitis: The symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction are similar to those of prostatitis, an infection or inflammation of the prostate (a male reproductive gland). Prostatitis can be caused by various factors, including germs, sexually transmitted diseases, or nervous system damage.
Women’s pelvic floor dysfunction:
Pelvic floor dysfunction, which affects the uterus and vagina, might jeopardise a woman’s reproductive health. Women who suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction may also experience additional symptoms such as discomfort during intercourse.
Pelvic floor dysfunction is not the same as pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the muscles that keep a woman’s pelvic organs (uterus, rectum, and bladder) in place become excessively loose and stretched out. Pelvic organ prolapse causes organs to protrude (stick out) of the vagina or rectum, necessitating women to push them back within.
Fortunately, most cases of pelvic floor dysfunction may be treated with biofeedback, physical therapy, and medicines. Contact your sexologist or gynaecologist via Marham if you begin to develop any of the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. Early therapy can assist enhance your quality of life and alleviate your bothersome and unpleasant symptoms.