Pelvic floor dysfunction affects one out of every five people in America, according to medical reports. Across the world, however, it affects about 25% of women between the ages of 30-70 – being a condition that doesn’t just affect the elderly, as many people believe. It’s uncomfortable and can even lead to embarrassment if not treated correctly. For many people, it not only goes undiagnosed, but it also goes untreated. If a pelvic floor disorder goes undiagnosed or untreated, it can cause life-altering changes.
Despite the issue being fairly common, many people remain ignorant of what pelvic floor dysfunction is, how it’s diagnosed, it’s symptoms, and how it’s treated. Moreover, because it can be embarrassing to talk about, many people don’t report it. However, you can take comfort that this common but abnormal condition can be treated.
What Is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Pelvic floor dysfunction is simply the loss of pelvic support due to an injury or other health condition that can affect the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is the entire area of the lowest part of the pelvis, including the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue. This area supports the bowel, bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum, helping these organs and area function properly.
When a condition weakens the pelvic floor, it makes it difficult to effectively support those organs. When there are weak pelvic muscles or tears in the tissue, it can cause the functioning of the bowel and bladder to function improperly. Furthermore, it can be difficult to control the muscles that support this area.
PFD is most prevalent among women who have given birth as childbirth can cause weakening of the muscles as well as tears in the connective tissue. However, pelvic floor disorders can also affect women who are overweight or who have had abdominal surgery. Furthermore, women who have physically demanding jobs or who do heavy lifting exercises can also suffer from the life-altering condition
Symptoms of PFD
Symptoms of PFD can vary from person to person. It depends on circumstances surrounding the condition, as well as age and health. However, there are many common symptoms.
- Urinary incontinence
- Uncontrollable bowel
- Painful intercourse
- Constipation or irregular bowel movements
- Difficulty urinating
- Pelvic pain
How Are Pelvic Floor Disorders Treated?
The most effective way of treating mild cases of pelvic floor disorders is through physical therapy. Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. Strengthening these muscles are instrumental in controlling the bladder and bowel.
However, strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor is the only treatment that physical therapy helps with. Physical therapy can also help with muscle relaxation, which can help make going to the bathroom easier. The inability to relax while urinating or having a bowel movement can lead to difficulty. Working on relaxation as well as strengthening can help return normal function to the pelvic floor area, bladder, and bowel.