All You Need to Know About Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

The pelvic floor muscles are a hammock-like group of muscles in women that stretch from the pubic bone to the tailbone. These muscles support the pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum.

A healthy pelvic region is important for overall pelvic health. When these muscles are weak or damaged, it can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction. In this article, we will discuss pelvic floor dysfunction, its causes, symptoms, and treatments. Keep reading!

woman laying down getting pelvic floor therapy from therapist

What Causes Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

Many factors can contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction, including:

  • Childbirth is one of the most common causes of pelvic floor dysfunction. The process of childbirth can cause the pelvic floor muscles to tear or stretch, leading to weakness and damage.

  • Aging can also lead to pelvic floor dysfunction. As women age, the pelvic floor muscles can weaken and lose tone. This can be due to a decrease in estrogen levels, which can happen during menopause.

  • Being overweight or obese can put extra pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, leading to dysfunction.

  • Certain medical conditions, such as pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis, can also cause pelvic floor dysfunction.

Other factors that can contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction include:

  • Chronic coughing

  • Constipation

  • Obesity

  • Prolonged sitting or standing

What Are the Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

The symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction can vary depending on the underlying cause. However, common symptoms include:

  • Urinary incontinence

  • Fecal incontinence

  • Pelvic pain

  • Pain during sex

  • Difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement

If you notice one of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor so they can rule out other potential causes.

How Can You Treat Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

Pelvic floor therapy is one of the most effective treatments for pelvic floor dysfunction. It helps strengthen and tone the pelvic floor muscles to support the pelvic organs better.

Pelvic floor therapy can be done at home or with the help of a physical therapist. However, we always recommend visiting an experienced physical therapy center, as they will be able to properly assess your pelvic floor and create a custom pelvic floor therapy plan.

Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles With Great Northern Physical Therapy

If you’re looking for pelvic floor physical therapy in the Great Northern area, look no further than Great Northern Physical Therapy. We offer pelvic floor therapy services designed to help women with pelvic floor dysfunction recover their pelvic health.

Our pelvic floor physical therapists are experienced in treating all types of pelvic floor dysfunction, from urinary incontinence to pelvic pain. We create custom pelvic floor therapy plans tailored to each patient.

To learn more about our pelvic floor physical therapy services or schedule an appointment, contact us today!

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Breathing and Your Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is certainly a hot topic of conversation for many men and women. Specifically, people begin to focus on their pelvic floor when they are having incontinence, urgency/frequency, prolapse, or pain associated with going to the bathroom or having sex. These are all issues related to pelvic floor dysfunction. But, what many don’t realize, is that your pelvic floor is also integral in one of our most basic functions: breath.

The diaphragm, our respiratory muscle, is located at the bottom of the ribcage. At rest, the diaphragm is a domelike shape, and with inhalation the diaphragm muscle contracts and drops downward toward your pelvis. This downward motion is followed by a shifting downward of internal organs, into the pelvic bowl. The pelvic floor muscles and fascia make up the bottom of the pelvic bowl. So, with this downward force during inhalation, the pelvic floor muscles also descend or stretch slightly downward. Immediately following inhalation and pelvic floor descent, is exhalation, and similarly, the pelvic floor follows the diaphragm as it rises upward to a resting position. This synchronous rising and falling of the diaphragm and pelvic floor is often referred to as the “piston effect”.

Not to be left out, the lower abdominal muscles (transverse abdominis) also contribute to this synchronous movement pattern. Working together by relaxing and stretching with inhalation and a “belly breath”, and tightening and drawing inward slightly with exhalation. In this way, the diaphragm, abdominals, and pelvic floor make up an abdominal cylinder that modulates intra-abdominal forces and pressure changes.

When this cylinder isn’t coordinating well together, or if there is tightness or weakness within the system, we see common musculoskeletal complaints: low back pain, SIJ pain, poor stability through the back and pelvis, hip pain, pelvic pain, incontinence, urgency/frequency of urine or stool, prolapse, poor posture, balance issues, and intolerance to exercise.

Our pelvic floor physical therapists can help evaluate these movement patterns and coordination of these systems, and create a treatment approach specific to you and your individual challenges.