Pelvis Floor Problems (pelvic floor dysfunction) is the term that includes a variety of disorders that occur when pelvic floor muscles and ligaments are impaired.
Your pelvic floor is the group of muscles and ligaments in your pelvic region. The pelvic floor acts like a sling to support the organs in your pelvis — including the bladder, rectum, and uterus or prostate. Contracting and relaxing these muscles allows you to control your bowel movements, urination, and, for women particularly, sexual intercourse.
Pelvic floor dysfunction forces you to contract your muscles rather than relax them. As a result, you may experience difficulty having a bowel movement.
If left untreated, pelvic floor dysfunction can lead to discomfort, long-term colon damage, or infection.
There are several symptoms associated with pelvic floor dysfunction. If you are diagnosed with pelvic floor dysfunction, you may experience symptoms including:
It is important not to self-diagnose your symptoms because they may indicate more serious conditions.
To make a diagnosis, your doctor will review your medical history and observe your symptoms. After the initial consultation, your doctor will perform a physical evaluation to check for muscle spasms or knots. They will also check for muscle weakness.
To check for pelvic muscle control and pelvic muscle contractions, your doctor may perform an internal exam by placing a perineometer — a small, sensing device — into your rectum or vagina.
A less invasive option involves placing electrodes on your perineum, the area between the scrotum and anus or vagina and anus, to determine if you can contract and relax pelvic muscles.
The goal for treating pelvic floor dysfunction is to relax the pelvic floor muscles to make bowel movements easier and to provide more control.
Kegel exercises, or similar techniques that require you to contract your muscles, will not help this condition. While surgery is an option, there are less invasive treatment options available.
A common treatment for this condition is biofeedback. This technique allows your therapist to monitor how you relax or contract your pelvic muscles through special sensors. After observing your muscle activity, your therapist will tell you how to improve your coordination.
Other treatment options include:
The pressure that occurs as you push a child through your vaginal canal can stretch and even tear pelvic muscles, leading to weakness. The pelvic muscles, which are meant to hold up the bladder and uterus, soften and sink. Therapy tightens and lifts these muscles again.
Therapy is also very beneficial after pelvic surgery.