Your pelvic floor is a collection of ligaments and muscles that support the structures and organs in your pelvic region. Imagine your pelvic floor as a hammock that cradles your uterus, cervix, vagina, bladder, intestines, and rectum.
The muscles of the pelvic floor play an important role in many functions that take place in the pelvic region, including sexual intercourse, urination, and passing bowel movements. Having a condition known as pelvic floor dysfunction can lead to a variety of symptoms and conditions.
At Albany Obstetrics & Gynecology, our team of care providers has extensive expertise in diagnosing and treating pelvic floor dysfunction. Here we share some important information about this condition, including common signs that your pelvic floor is not functioning as it should.
About pelvic floor dysfunction
Women with pelvic floor dysfunction have trouble relaxing their pelvic muscles. (Men can also have pelvic floor dysfunction, although it can cause different types of symptoms in men.)
When the pelvic muscles can't relax properly, their tightness can interfere with the normal functioning of the pelvic organs.
Some causes of pelvic floor dysfunction include pregnancy, age, excess weight, trauma to the pelvic region, and chronic constipation. You may also be more likely to experience pelvic floor dysfunction if one or both of your parents had it.
What to watch for
Although the signs of pelvic floor dysfunction can vary, common indicators include the following:
These may include having to urinate frequently, leaking urine, painful urination, waking up often in the night to urinate, having a slow urine stream, or having a urine stream that stops and starts.
These may include constipation, having to push hard to empty your bowels, leaking stool, or pain when you pass stool.
Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause pain in your lower back, pelvic area, rectum, or genitals. It can also lead to pain during sexual intercourse.
The treatment goal for women with pelvic floor dysfunction is to relax the muscles of the pelvic area so the organs within it can function properly.
This can be done through:
- Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or acupuncture.
- Biofeedback, which is a mind/body strategy that uses sensors to help train you to relax your muscles.
- Physical therapy provided by practitioners who are specially trained in pelvic floor disorders and pelvic muscle retraining.
Help for all of your pelvic symptoms
If you're experiencing any of the signs of pelvic floor dysfunction, don't wait to seek help. Our providers can evaluate your situation, diagnose its cause, and create an individualized treatment plan designed to reduce your symptoms.
Schedule an appointment with one of our caring providers by calling our office in Albany, New York, or using our convenient contact form.