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Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD)

From the Pelvic Floor Articles List

Pelvic Floor DysfunctionWhat exactly is the pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) and how can I treat it?


The pelvic floor is made up of a group of muscles, ligaments, nerves, and connective tissues that span the bottom of the pelvis, forming a sling that supports the bladder, rectum, uterus, and vagina. Losing the ability to control the pelvic floor muscles can result in pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD).

PFD can be the result of muscles that are either too loose, too tight, or causing spasms. It can be the result of trauma and injury to the pelvic floor muscles and nerves following pregnancy, delivery, surgery, or an accident. Other causes and risk factors may include obesity, no or low estrogen, constipation, sexual abuse, or musculoskeletal factors. Certain medical conditions such as endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, or irritable bowel syndrome may lead to PFD because of constant muscle tightness, spasms, and/or irritation.

Having control of your pelvic floor is necessary for normal bowel, bladder, and sexual function. PFD can lead to painful intercourse, constipation, incomplete bowel movements, frequent urination, painful urination, urine leaking, lower back aches, and pain in the pelvic, rectal, and genital areas.

Diagnosis of PFD may depend on your symptoms. Thus, keeping a detailed symptom diary is important. After discussing symptoms, your physician will do a physical exam. Feeling the muscles can allow him/her to detect muscle spasms, knots, and/or weakness. S/he may also use electrodes to test your muscles. A defecating proctogram and/or uroflow test may also be ordered.

Treatment of PFD may depend on your particular symptoms and how extensive they are. Treatments can include biofeedback, physical therapy, relaxation techniques, medications, and, in extreme cases, surgery. Avoiding constipation and straining issues may be helpful as well.

Your gynecologist may be able to help diagnose PFD, but there are other specialists to consider as well, such as urogynecologists, colo-rectal surgeons, and/or pelvic floor physical therapists.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

10-12-2013 - 06:04 PM


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