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Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: Causes Symptoms And Treatment From A Urogynecologist

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: Causes Symptoms And Treatment From A Urogynecologist

Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) is a disorder that affects muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that support pelvic organs such as the bladder and rectum. These structures make up the pelvic flooring, which is crucial for maintaining urinary, fecal, and sexual continence. Weakness, tightness, or impairment of the pelvic muscle can significantly impair an individual’s livelihood. Understanding pelvic flooring dysfunction and its causes and symptoms is crucial for anyone seeking treatment from an urogynecologist in Houston or elsewhere.

Understanding The Pelvic Flooring

The pelvic floors are made of layers that stretch out like a sling from the pubic bones to the tailbone. These muscles function in harmony in order to support pelvic organs and control the flow of urine and feces. They also play an important role in sexual activity. This coordinated contraction and relaxing of muscles is necessary for normal body functions.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Types

Pelvic floor problems can present in three different ways.

  1. Hypertonic PF (Overactive Pelvic Floor Muscles): This condition occurs when the muscles of the pelvic floors are too tight, and they cannot relax. Pelvic pain, painful sexual activity, and difficulty in bowel movements are all symptoms.
  2. Hypertonic PFD (Underactive pelvic Floor Muscles): This occurs if the pelvic muscle is weak and cannot contract. Incontinence of the feces, pelvic organ prolapse, and urinary incontinence are some of the symptoms.
  3. Non-relaxing PFD: This happens when the pelvic muscle floor does not relax as much during activities that require the relaxation of muscles, such as urination. This condition may lead to challenges initiating urination or defecation, along with a sense of incompleteness.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: Causes

The development of pelvic-floor dysfunction can be caused by a number of factors, including

  1. Childbirth: The muscles of the pelvic floors can become weaker and stretched during vaginal deliveries, especially if you use forceps or push for too long.
  2. Aging: As people get older, their pelvic floor muscles weaken. This can lead to PFD symptoms.
  3. Surgery: Pelvic surgeries such as hysterectomy may affect the muscles in the pelvic floor and lead to dysfunction.
  4. Weight: Excess weight puts additional strain on pelvic floor muscle, leading to weakness.
  5. Chronic Chest Coughing: Conditions that can cause chronic coughing (such as smoking or asthma) can increase the pressure placed on the muscles of your pelvic floor, contributing to dysfunction.
  6. Heavy lifting: Repeated heavy lifts can lead to pelvic floor weakness.
  7. Genes: A family history of pelvic-floor dysfunction increases the risk of developing the condition.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction And Its Symptoms

The symptoms can vary depending on severity and type. Common symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include:

  1. Incontinence Urinary: A leakage of uric acid during certain activities, such as laughing, sneezing, coughing, or exercising.
  2. Fecal Incontinence: Inability to regulate bowel movements. This leads to accidental leakage of stools.
  3. Pelvic Anxiety: Consistent pelvic pain, which may be sharp or dull.
  4. Pressure In The Pelvis: An uncomfortable feeling or pressure around the pelvic area. This is usually caused by pelvic organ prolapse.
  5. Bowel Movements: This is a feeling of pain, straining, or incomplete emptying.
  6. Frequent Urine: The need to urinate a lot or urgently.

Treatment Options For Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Treatment for pelvic Floor Dysfunction depends on its severity and the type of condition. Some common treatment options include:

  1. Exercise: Physical therapy for the pelvic floor is often the first-line treatment. A physical therapist specializes in teaching exercises to strengthen or loosen the muscles of the pelvic floors, depending on the type of dysfunction.
  2. Biofeedback: A technique that uses electronic monitoring to assist patients in learning how to control and improve pelvic floor muscle functions.
  3. Medication: Medicines may be prescribed in order to treat symptoms such as urinary or bowel incontinence, pelvic pain, and constipation.
  4. PESSARY: An implant is inserted into vaginal tissue to support pelvic structures and reduce symptoms associated with prolapse.
  5. Surgery: In severe cases of pelvic organ sag or other structural problems, surgical intervention might be necessary.


A woman’s ability to live a healthy life can be significantly affected by pelvic dysfunction. A more effective management of this condition can be achieved through knowledge of its causes, symptoms, and treatment alternatives. If you’re experiencing pelvic floor symptoms, consulting a urogynecologist Houston-based or from your local area is the best way to get the guidance and treatment you need. Early intervention, along with proper management, can help relieve symptoms and enhance your overall well-being.