Many people struggle with pelvic floor dysfunction. Issues with the layer of muscles at the bottom of the pelvis can cause gynecologic, colorectal and urologic symptoms that many people don’t realize are connected. Pelvic floor dysfunction is an overarching term for muscle weakness or incompetent muscle contractions in the pelvic floor. At Piedmont Colorectal Associates, our skilled physicians offer treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction and related symptoms.
Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
The pelvic floor supports organs in the area, including the bladder, uterus and vagina (in women), prostate (in men) and rectum. A variety of symptoms are linked to pelvic floor dysfunction, including:
- Trouble releasing bowel movements
- Incomplete bowel movements
- Leaking urine or stool
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination
- Feeling the need to push hard or strain to evacuate bowels
- Constipation or pain during bowel movements
- Lower back pain that does not have another cause
- Ongoing pain in the pelvis, genitals or rectum with or without a bowel movement
- Sexual dysfunction, such as painful intercourse
Some experts believe half the people who experience long-term, chronic constipation may have pelvic floor dysfunction. The nerve supply in the pelvic floor supports the pelvic organs, provides urine and feces control and allows for proper sexual function with arousal and orgasm. Sexual dysfunction affects up to 40 percent of reproductive-age women, and pelvic floor dysfunction may impact up to 50 percent of childbearing women. These women are more likely to experience infrequent orgasms, recurrent genital pain around intercourse and less arousal.
What are the Treatments for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Treatment for this condition depends on the type and severity of symptoms. Sometimes lifestyle modifications can alleviate pelvic floor dysfunction, such as diet changes that include avoiding alcohol, caffeine, specific ingredients and acidic foods and beverages. Losing 3% to 5% of your total body weight can reduce urinary incontinence, and pelvic floor and core exercises may also improve symptoms.
Medications and procedures can reduce pelvic floor dysfunction. Botulinum toxin type A (or Botox) can reduce an overactive bladder, and physical manipulation or biofeedback may decrease other symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. Trigger point injections, acupuncture and sacral nerve stimulation, may also be an option.
In severe cases, surgery can restore the function of the pelvic floor muscles, such as uterine or vaginal prolapse and urinary incontinence. Management of pelvic floor dysfunction requires a team of doctors and specialists, such as colorectal surgeons, gynecologists, urogynecologists and physical therapists.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, schedule an appointment with our specialists in Atlanta. Contact Piedmont Colorectal Associates at (404) 351-7900 or fill out our online form.