Pelvic floor disorder, which is also known as pelvic floor dysfunction, is a condition that affects the group of muscles known as the pelvic floor. This muscle group supports the bladder, uterus, prostate, and rectum, and the most common symptom of pelvic floor disorder is the inability to open the rectum to have a bowel movement. Instead of relaxing, the muscles in the pelvic floor tighten in people who have pelvic floor dysfunction, which can result in severe constipation. This condition may also cause frequent urination or the need to have multiple bowel movements over a short period. When it comes to women’s health, pelvic floor disorders include pelvic organ prolapse, including the bladder, uterus, vagina, the small bowel and rectum.
The causes of this condition include obesity, constipation, pelvic organ cancers, hysterectomy, prolonged chronic cough, weakened core strength and pregnancy. It appears that traumatic injuries to the pelvic area may cause pelvic floor disorder, and the process of giving birth vaginally also causes this condition in some women. Also, women who are obese or overweight are more at risk of developing pelvic floor disorder, and repetitive heavy lifting or genetic factors may also be to blame for the development of this disease in some patients.
Symptoms of pelvic floor disorders may vary, commonly both women and men experience constipation, leaking of the urine, chronic urge to urinate, low back pain and pressure in the pelvic region. Women can experience painful intercourse, vaginal bleeding and a feeling that something is falling out of the vagina.
The diagnosis process for pelvic floor dysfunction begins with a series of questions about your medical history. Then, a physical examination will be performed that may include the use of a perineometer, which measures the muscle activity in your perineum. In some cases, a type of imaging test called a defecating proctogram might also be ordered to record how your muscles move as you attempt to have a bowel movement. For women affected by this condition, the gynecologist performs a thorough examination of the pelvic floor muscles and organs.
Pelvic floor dysfunction generally has a good prognosis when physiotherapy techniques are utilized. In some cases, muscle relaxants may be prescribed, or surgery may be necessary to treat this condition. At Advance Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, our experienced physical therapists perform treatments such as manual therapy, including, myofascial release, trigger point release, joint mobilizations and massage, electric stimulation and ultrasound. We are experts in pelvic floor neuromuscular re-education, coordination, strength training, lumbopelvic stabilization exercises, patient education on postural modifications, relaxation techniques and providing a comprehensive home exercise program.