Have you ever experienced any of the following?
1. Urinary incontinence – bladder leakage?
2. Fecal incontinence – bowel leakage?
3. Bladder pain or burning with urination?
4. Difficulty starting the stream of urine?
5. Frequent urination or strong urges to urinate?
6. Constipation and/or straining to have a BM?
7. Several bowel movements in a short period of time?
8. Inability to complete a bowel movement?
9. Rectal pain and/or pressure before, during or after a bowel movement or just with sitting?
10. Low back pain?
11. A feeling of pressure or something falling out of the vaginal opening?
12. Painful intercourse?
If you have noticed any of these symptoms you may be suffering from a problem involving your pelvic floor muscles.
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that are found at the base of the pelvis. They act like a sling running from the front of your pelvis by your pubic bone to the back of your pelvis attaching to your sacrum (triangle bone at the bottom of your spine).
When functioning correctly, the pelvic floor has 4 functions:
1. It supports your pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, prostate and bowel) from falling out
2. It maintains continence (allowing you to hold in urine, gas and bowel movements)
3. It aids in sexual functioning
4. It works with the abdominal wall to give support and stability to your spine.
What is pelvic floor dysfunction?
Pelvic floor dysfunction is often the result of increased tightness or shortening in your pelvic floor muscles just like a hamstring can get tight or shortened in the back of your thigh. This tension does not allow you to completely relax your muscles for things like urination and defecation and optimal sexual functioning. This can present like pain with urination, frequent urination or bowel movement, as the muscles don’t relax enough to allow your bladder or bowel to empty all the way. This gives you the sensation of having to go more often. It can also cause constipation and abdominal pain or bloating as the pelvic floor muscles don’t relax for you to be able to have a bowel movement or when you do have a bowel movement you have to strain to do so. Frequently after childbirth or surgery in the pelvic region or low back the pelvic floor muscles become weak. Some women experience a sensation of pressure or falling out sensation in the vaginal area. This can come from organ prolapse such as your bladder falling down. In this case the pelvic floor muscles cannot function as well to support your internal organs and become even weaker.
The national Institutes of Health found that pelvic floor disorders affect 10% of women ages 20-39; 27% of women ages 40-59, 37% of women ages 60-79 and nearly 50% of women over 80.
How does the pelvic floor help low back pain?
Your pelvic floor is part of your CORE! The alignment of your spine and pelvis/sacral iliac joints is also important since your pelvic floor muscles attach there. Instability of these areas also increases muscle tension and pain. If these bones are not in their ideal position it can cause increased tension, stretching or weakness of the pelvic floor muscles creating an imbalance in your musculature. Any weak muscles around the pelvis and low back contribute to back pain.
If you have experienced any of the 12 signs listed above you are a perfect candidate to explore the possibility of your pelvic floor being the cause or a contributing factor. Remember there are treatment options for you! Don’t suffer and compromise your quality of life when the treatment is so easy!
My goal is to help you identify potential causes of your symptoms and give you some ideas for how to begin working towards correcting it and move you closer to restoring the lifestyle and the quality of life you desire.
The signs of pelvic floor disorders listed above are definitely just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to pelvic muscle assessment and treatment; so, if you continue to suffer or simply would like to undergo a thorough professional assessment, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re here to walk beside you on your return to life, as you once knew it!
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