Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is a less talked about topic because people find it difficult to talk about it and don’t know whom to talk to. The results are that pelvic floor dysfunction is underreported. But it’s an important aspect that needs to be understood and talked about clearly. It affects numerous people and is more common in females. The general conception is that pelvic floor dysfunction is prevalent only in pregnancy or in the elderly population but the truth is different. According to studies, the prevalence of pelvic floor dysfunction is about 21% in India and 25% in the USA.
Understanding Pelvic floor-
The pelvic floor is made up of several layers of muscles, structured like a hammock, running from front to back(front of the pelvis to tail bone), and side to side(between two hip bones).
Pelvic Floor Muscles helps in
- Supporting the pelvic organ’s bladder, bowel, and uterus in females/prostate in males.
- Helps in pregnancy and childbirth.
- Bladder and bowel control.
- Passing of urine and faeces.
- Sexual function.
Pelvic floor dysfunction can be caused by:
- Weak pelvic floor muscles leading to Urinary Incontinence(leakage of urine), Anal Incontinence, Pelvic Organ Prolapse, reduced sensation in the pelvic area, and pain. Pelvic floor muscles can be weakened by childbirth, surgery, heavy lifting, being overweight, constipation, or menopause.
- Tightness pelvic floor muscles results in Urinary and Fecal Urgency, Urge Incontinence, Chronic Pelvic Pain, Incomplete emptying, Constipation, Pain during or after intercourse, and unexplained pain in low back, pelvic area, and hips.
Pelvic floor exam by Pelvic floor therapist– Observation and palpation of back, pelvis, hips, abdomen, and pelvic floor. The main purpose is to look for restrictions on mobility or movement. The internal assessment aims at checking the ability of pelvic muscles to contract or relax and feel the trigger points in the muscle. The internal exam by the pelvic floor physiotherapist is important to determine if the muscles are tightened, their strength, and their function. The treatment includes relaxing contracted pelvic floor muscles, strengthening of weak muscles and internal manipulation or massage. It sounds unusual but it’s effective.
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