Female Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: A Comprehensive Guide

By Author name on 08 Nov, 2023

A woman’s body goes through a lot of changes throughout her life. Especially after pregnancy, there will be a lot of changes in her body. These changes affect her bladder control and bowel movements, functioning properly before. It is because of  pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor dysfunction is a distress that can even cause sexual dysfunction. So, why does it occur, and how can it be treated? 

What is pelvic floor dysfunction?

If you’re unable to control your pelvic muscles and are facing problems in urination, defecation and also during sex, it is because of pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD). Both men and women experience this problem, which is common among women. A lot of women face pelvic floor dysfunction, that is, the inability to control the pelvic muscles. Pelvic muscles hold and support the organs in the pelvis: bladder, bowel and uterus. When the pelvic muscles are weakened or damaged, it leads to dysfunction in urination, bowel movement and sexual functioning. 

How do I find out?

Many of the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction can be embarrassing for you to admit, but remember that it is not just happening to you alone. It is very common, and if you notice any of these signs, get a medical diagnosis. The symptoms include: 

  • Urinary problem: It includes issues like urinary incontinence, urine leakage, and an overactive bladder, which is an increase in the urge or frequency to urinate. 
  • Bowel movement problem: Facing constipation, bowel strain, incomplete or painful bowel movement, and stool incontinence, that is, stool leakage.
  • Pelvic pain: Pressure or pain in the lower abdomen, genital and anus, or rectum 
  • Sexual dysfunction: Females experience pain during sex, whereas men experience erection issues.
  • Back pain: The pressure in the pelvis causes unexplainable back pain. 

Why does it happen?

PFD can occur because of different factors. Though it is mostly because of childbirth, other factors can contribute to its occurrence. 

  • Age: The muscles of the pelvis naturally weaken as you age 
  • Genetics: Some people might have it genetically because of the presence of weak connective tissue. 
  • Pregnancy and childbirth: Since there is weight on pelvic muscles during pregnancy, they become weak and sometimes even stretch and tear during childbirth. 
  • Obesity: The pressure on pelvic muscle because of being overweight weakens it. 
  • Surgery: Pelvic surgery or injury increases the risk of PFD.  
  • Neurological disorders: Disorders like Parkinson’s and sclerosis weaken the pelvis muscle. 
  • Health conditions: Issues like Irritable bowel syndrome and endometriosis can contribute to pelvic pain.   

These are the causes that can develop PFD. Some reasons are genetic and inevitable conditions that cannot be changed. Still, there are a few others that can be controlled, like obesity and acquiring health conditions that can contribute to having PFD. 

How to treat it?

The effects of PFD can be embarrassing for many of us to admit, but it can also be treated. 

The treatment for PFD ranges from lifestyle changes to surgery. They might include: 

  • Exercise and physical therapy: Pelvic floor therapy is the most common treatment for PFD. Your physical therapist might suggest a combination of kegel exercises, biofeedback, a treatment using electrodes, and massage.
  • Lifestyle changes: It is essential to consider changes in your lifestyle such as eating fiber-rich food, drinking plenty of water, avoiding lifting weights and putting pressure on the pelvic muscle, doing kegel exercises regularly, and relaxing your pelvic muscle using meditation and yoga. But there is a psychological connection between stress and PFD, so try talk therapy if you’re going through stress and abuse. 
  • Medication and surgery: There are many surgeries available to treat the underlying cause of the problem, and there are medications available to control the symptoms of PFD, which will reduce the pain and distress caused by it.

Pelvic floor dysfunction is difficult to cope with. Still, it would be best if you remember it is common among women and there are various treatment options available to treat the condition. So, keep yourselves active and have a healthy lifestyle, which will keep your pelvic muscles strong in the long run.

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