Sometimes, I wonder who keeps these names for medical diseases or terms, I mean when I read Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, my mind immediately conjured Elvis Presley and his pelvic thrust dance moves. Alas, that’s not the case, so what is it?
Okay, back to the topic, Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is not one ailment; it actually includes a wide range of various disorders. Now before we define it, let’s first understand that both men and women have a pelvic floor in anatomy. It consists of muscles, ligaments, nerves, which provide support to our pelvic organs like bladder, rectum, uterus, and others. You get the idea I guess, it’s like a sling covering that area. It helps control bladder, bowel movements and in women sexual activity. The contraction and release of the muscles are what does the trick in aiding these functions.
Back to defining, when there is a weakness, tightening or any kind of damage to these muscles it causes various disorders, and that is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD). The disorders that occur mainly fall into three categories:
- Urinal Incontinence
- Anal Incontinence
Pelvic Organ Prolapse (where any pelvic organ drops from its original place and consequently push against another organ)
Causes: Normally there aren’t any defined causes behind PFD. However, pregnancy & childbirth, obesity, surgery radiation that results in damage to nerve tissues, Accidents, damage to the area from falls are all considered as probable causes and risk factors.
Below listed are a few symptoms that hint toward things not being well with the floor:
- Pain in urination, other issues, like incomplete emptying of the bladder
- Experiencing pain during intercourse
- Straining, constipation, while defecating
- Inability to control bladder or bowel movements.
- Pain in genitals, vagina or anal areas
- Feeling a bulge in vagina, or rectum (prolapse)
Any of these symptoms should make you turn towards your doctor for a check-up. Diagnosis includes listing down your symptoms, and a physical examination. The physical checkup will require examination from outside and internally. It requires checking how the floor muscles are working if you are able to release and contract them as required. Doctors may use hands or equipment for the check-up, you may discuss the scope of how you want the diagnosis to be done.
The most common treatment is Biofeedback. It is performed by trained physicians, nurses. It includes teaching muscles training to the patients. It’s non-invasive and painless, which requires monitoring of the muscles activity and then accordingly guiding the patient. Many people see a difference in their condition with this technique. Other treatments include medications like muscle relaxants, Surgery in some cases.
The crucial part is to not hide the condition, it may not be easy to talk about it, but it’s better than living with pain. It is treatable then why not take advantage of that fact. Apart from that, even before PFD occurs, you can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by exercising them just like we train muscles in other body parts. All you have to do is, work them by squeezing the floor muscles and releasing them while relaxing all other abdomen, thigh muscles. You can do sets of 10, and combine set of quick and slow exercise.
Working these out means better sex life and lesser PFD. Ultimately it all depends on you, your health requires a constant effort from you, and you’ll reap the benefits if you sweat it.