What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Pelvic floor dysfunction includes a wide range of symptoms including constipation, pelvic or anorectal pain, difficulty having bowel movements, difficulty with urination, vaginal pain, pain with sexual activity or even incontinence with bowel movements or urination. Other names for the same condition include pelvic relaxation syndrome or pelvic floor disorders.
What causes Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Pelvic floor dysfunction is caused by a weakening or loss of coordination of the muscles and nerves which make up our pelvic floor. This includes the muscles and nerves that help the bladder, vagina, uterus and rectum function properly.
Pelvic floor dysfunction usually affects patients later in life, but it is frequently associated with:
- Previous pelvic or anorectal surgery
- Previous pregnancies, especially with vaginal deliveries
- Previous episiotomies
- Chronic constipation
- Pelvic organ prolapse
How is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction managed?
Initial evaluation for pelvic floor dysfunction starts with a detailed history of a patient’s daily bowel habits and a targeted assessment of your symptoms.
A brief examination in the office is usually sufficient to confirm the diagnosis but additional studies including anal physiology testing and specialized MRI may be used as well.
Treatment revolves around maximizing quality of life with goal directed therapy. Treatments include:
- Creation and modification of a personalized daily bowel regimen
- Management of associated obesity and other co-morbidities
- Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
What other conditions can be confused for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
There are several other conditions that can cause similar symptoms to pelvic floor dysfunction but have vastly different treatment plans. This is why it is important to seek out care with a colorectal surgeon to help evaluate the exact cause of your symptoms. These conditions can include:
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse
- Rectal prolapse
- Vaginal Prolapse
- Bladder Prolapse
- Colorectal cancer
- Colonic Inertia
At Memorial Advanced Surgery, we are happy to provide consultation for pelvic floor dysfunction or any related symptoms and start working on your personalized treatment plan today.