Pelvic floor dysfunction – huh? What’s a pelvic floor?

If you’re wondering what in the world we’re talking about when we say these things, you’re not alone. And, better yet, you’ve come to the right place to have your questions answered.

What are pelvic floor muscles?

The pelvic floor muscles are a band of muscles that are connected to the pelvis. They don’t get much air time, but it’s really a shame because they’re responsible for all sorts of things – and can cause all sorts of trouble if they’re not functioning properly. In men, pelvic floor muscles connect and support the bladder and bowel. In women, they support the bladder, bowel, and uterus. They stretch from one sitting bone to the other and from the tailbone to the pubic bone – sort of like a trampoline.

Because of their huge job, they are responsible for providing control over the bladder, bowel, and other internal organs. You could say they’re a pretty big deal.

What is pelvic floor dysfunction?

Diagnosed pelvic floor dysfunction occurs when we are unable to sufficiently contract or relax this band of pelvic floor muscles. This contraction – and relaxation – is necessary for urinating, having a bowel movement, giving birth vaginally, have intercourse without pain (for women), and other important tasks.

Symptoms can include:

  • Constipation
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Painful intercourse
  • Back pain
  • Pressure in the rectum

What causes weak (or overactive) pelvic floor muscles?

There is no definitive answer for why pelvic floor dysfunction occurs, though there are things that may loosen the pelvic floor muscles over time.

These include:

  • Trauma to the pelvis or low back
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Straining during heavy lifting, or while on the toilet
  • High impact exercise, like running or bicycling
  • Poor posture – sitting or standing
  • Age

How can I correct pelvic floor dysfunction?

The most important piece of correcting your pelvic floor dysfunction and setting yourself on a path to recovery is a proper diagnosis from a physical therapist. A physical therapist’s ability to properly identify and isolate the specific muscles within your pelvic floor that you’re having trouble with is critical to recovery. This is because there are various techniques to train, relax, or stretch these muscles to get them back in proper working order.

Various treatment methods include:

  • Yoga for pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Dry needling
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Kegel exercises
  • Even diet and lifestyle changes can have tremendous effect

If this sounds like something you’ve experienced, or know someone who has, know that there is hope! We’ve had so much success with women (and men) in your exact situation! And don’t stress about your first visit – we’re here to support you and empower you. Ready to start running, urinating, or having sex without discomfort? Give us a call!