What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD) is a condition affecting your pelvic floor muscles and ligaments due to the muscles being too weak. The pelvic floor supports your bladder, bowel, uterus, rectum and prostate. Pelvic floor dysfunction forces you to contract your muscles rather than relax them which can cause problems with your bladder and your bowel.
Symptoms for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction include:
- Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)
- Lower back pain
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Painful intercourse
- Fecal incontinence
- Pain in the pelvic region, genitals or rectum
- Traumatic injury
- Nerve damage
- Pelvis surgery
Your Dr will take a detailed medical history with regards to your symptoms and will perform an exam by using a perineometer. It is inserted into the Vagina to check for muscle weakness, muscle spasms or muscle knots.
He may also send you for a Urodynamics test. Water is used to fill your bladder and then you will have to try and void your bladder. If your flow of urine is weak or you have to stop and start as you urinate, it can suggest pelvic floor dysfunction.
There are a variety of treatments options available to you which include, physical therapy, biofeedback, medication which will help the muscles to relax and self care techniques such as Yoga and stretching the muscles.
If none of these treatments work, your Dr may discuss a more invasive treatment such as Surgery. Surgery involves supporting the pelvic organs by the use of a synthetic material called mesh which creates a sling for your bladder, urethra and if required, the rectum. If you do not want to use synthetic mesh you can have a sling made from your own skin which is called the Burch method.
Many women are embarrassed about having Pelvic floor dysfunction and may change their lifestyle around it, but it is a highly treatable condition and can be managed well letting you resume your healthy active lifestyle.