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Understanding Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

physician holding model of pelvis skeleton

What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction? Pelvic floor dysfunction refers to the impaired function of the pelvic floor muscles, which can affect both men and women of all ages. It can manifest as weakness, tightness, or a combination of both in the pelvic muscles, leading to various complications. This condition may result from childbirth, chronic constipation, surgery, hormonal changes, trauma, or even lifestyle factors.

Common Causes of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction:

  1. Childbirth: The stress and strain on the pelvic floor during childbirth can contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction.

  2. Chronic Constipation: Frequent straining during bowel movements can weaken the pelvic floor muscles over time.

  3. Pelvic Surgery: Surgeries involving the pelvic area may cause pelvic floor dysfunction due to tissue trauma.

  4. Menopause: Hormonal changes during menopause can impact pelvic muscle tone and elasticity.

  5. High-Impact Exercises: Repetitive high-impact exercises or improper lifting techniques can strain the pelvic floor.

Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction:

  1. Urinary Incontinence: Involuntary leakage of urine, especially when sneezing, coughing, or laughing.

  2. Bowel Issues: Difficulty controlling bowel movements or frequent episodes of constipation.

  3. Pelvic Pain: Discomfort or pain in the pelvic region, lower abdomen, or lower back.

  4. Painful Intercourse: Pain or discomfort during sexual activity.

  5. Pelvic Organ Prolapse: A feeling of pressure or bulging in the pelvic area.

Treatment Options for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction:

  1. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy: Specialized physical therapy focuses on assessing and addressing pelvic floor dysfunctions through targeted exercises and techniques.

  2. Medications: In some cases, medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms, such as overactive bladder medications.

  3. Lifestyle Modifications: Implementing healthy lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a balanced diet and managing constipation, can support pelvic health.

  4. Relaxation Techniques: Stress reduction techniques, like mindfulness and deep breathing, can help relax pelvic muscles.

Understanding pelvic floor dysfunction empowers individuals to recognize the signs, seek professional help, and explore treatment options. Whether it's through pelvic floor physical therapy or lifestyle modifications, addressing pelvic floor dysfunction is crucial for improving quality of life and restoring pelvic health. If you experience any symptoms related to pelvic floor dysfunction, consult with a healthcare professional or a pelvic floor therapist for personalized guidance and care.

(Note: This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized evaluation and treatment recommendations.)



About Michelle

Michelle is a Doctor of Physical Therapy at Webb Physical Therapy, located in Lawrence, Kansas.  She's worked in PT for close to 10 years, and believes each patient should be treated with a holistic, whole person approach to healing.

She is devoted to helping her patients develop individualized treatment plans to help them achieve their specific goals.

Call (785) 813-1338 for a free 15 minute phone consultation, or email

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