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Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: 4 Surprising Things You Need to Know

What is it?
Pelvic floor dysfunction is considered to be any under-activity, overactivity, or poor coordination of the muscles of the pelvic floor.

Causes
These symptoms are commonly caused by pregnancy and abdominal or pelvic surgeries, such as prostate removal and C-section. Other causes include, but are not limited to endometriosis, menopause, radiation, medication, neurologic disorders, nerve damage, and chronic UTIs or bladder infections.

Symptoms
Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include pain in any of the muscles or ligaments of the pelvic girdle, lower back pain, leg pain, incontinence (or “leakage”), pain at the tailbone, pain during sex, heaviness or fullness in the pelvis, constipation, painful bowel movements, inability to empty bladder. Pelvic pain can include pain at the pelvic floor, sacroiliac joint, tailbone, or pubic bone. Types of incontinence include stress incontinence, urgency incontinence, and mixed incontinence.

Treatment
Common barriers to dysfunction include muscle weakness, fascial restrictions, joint stiffness or laxity, and movement compensations. Physical therapy treatment addresses these dysfunctions in order to decrease frequency and severity of symptoms.  Treatment includes pelvic floor strengthening, core muscle strengthening, pelvic myofascial release, pelvic muscle energy techniques, and patient education on how to best manage symptoms.

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