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Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: Symptoms, Causes & Prevention

Our Manotick physiotherapists explain how pelvic floor muscles can be affected by pelvic floor dysfunction. Learn about the condition's symptoms and treatments and how physiotherapy can help. 

Our pelvic muscles serve many purposes; they support both our overall health and sexual function. They control the flow and frequency and urination, help bowel movements and can potentially impact sexual sensation. 

Due to the location of these muscles in our bodies, if they are somehow strained or injured, sensitivity, discomfort, pain and more can occur. Strain or injury of the pelvic floor muscles is referred to as pelvic floor dysfunction. 

People experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction may be able to recover function and feeling in the muscles of their pelvic floor by attending physical therapy. Specific exercises and techniques can be used to strengthen the muscles, building them up to prevent injury in the future. Left untreated, symptoms of injuries such as organ prolapse or urinary incontinence may become inevitable. 

What causes dysfunction in my pelvic floor muscles? 

The specific cause of injury or dysfunction in your pelvic floor can, surprisingly to some, be quite difficult to pinpoint due to symptoms of pelvic floor injuries mimicking the symptoms of many other health conditions. 

It may also be challenging to determine the cause due to the numerous ways your pelvic floor can be adversely impacted. Some common causes of injuries or other pelvic floor dysfunction include:

  • Tight/overactive muscles
  • Aging
  • Childbirth
  • Episiotomy (during delivery)
  • Traumatic pelvic injuries
  • Lower levels of estrogen after menopause
  • Chronic constipation 
  • Prostate cancer
  • Pregnancy

What are common symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction?

While symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction can cause pain in the muscles of this area of the body, symptoms of pelvic dysfunction that should be treated with physiotherapy can take on very different forms. 

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of strains, dysfunction or injuries in your pelvis may include:

  • Constipation 
  • Lower back pain without an obvious cause
  • Urinary urgency
  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Painful urination
  • Groin pain 
  • Reduced pain or sexual sensation during intercourse 
  • Urinary/bowel incontinence 

Have you noticed that any of these conditions are consistently coming up in your daily life? You may have dysfunction in your pelvic floor. While many people attribute these symptoms as signs of aging, this doesn't have to be the case for you. 

With physiotherapy treatments from our Manotick physiotherapists, we may be able to help you recover control over your bodily functions, reduce the discomfort you're experiencing in your pelvic floor and alleviate your pain. 

Which treatments are involved in pelvic physiotherapy?

Our specially trained pelvic floor physiotherapists in Manotick treat patients who are experiencing pelvic floor pain or dysfunction using a range of techniques. While these treatments are customized for your specific case of pelvic floor dysfunction, you don't need to be in pain to seek physical therapy for your pelvic floor muscles. 

You might be surprised to learn that many people use pelvic physiotherapy as a preventive treatment - supporting the strength and mobility of your pelvic muscles or other parts of your body to prevent injuries or dysfunction from happening in the first place. 

Treatment methods used to prevent and treat the development of pelvic dysfunction fall under two large umbrellas: passive and active physical therapies. 

Passive Physiotherapy for Your Pelvic Floor

Passive physiotherapy is called this because it doesn't require our patients to take action themselves. During passive physiotherapy treatments, our physical therapists treat our clients to help relax tight muscles, encourage the healing of injuries, and assess what exercises or activities might be best suited for our patient's particular case. We offer a number of passive physiotherapy treatments for pelvic floor issues in our patients, including:

  • Manual Therapy - Our physiotherapists offer a number of manual therapy techniques (tissues & joints) depending on the root cause of your pain to help loosen and relax seized or spasming muscles.
  • Myofascial Release & other tissue techniques (cupping, dry needling, etc) - When we have identified the source of pelvic pain as residing in a specific muscular trigger point, we use physical stimulation to release stress and tension from the identified source in your pelvic floor, low back, and buttock.

Active Physiotherapy for Your Pelvic Floor

Active physiotherapy treatments are exercises specifically prescribed for a client by one of our physiotherapists based on their professional assessment of the root cause of their discomfort or pain. These activities and exercises, help to strengthen muscles, encourage relaxation and stretch tight muscle groups.

The exercises our specially trained physiotherapists prescribe for pelvic floor issues will be hugely dependent on the specific root cause of their discomfort, but generally involve exercises, stretches and relaxation techniques to do at home.  Kegels are NOT the ONLY or right answer for all!

Are you experiencing symptoms of pelvic pain or dysfunction? Our physiotherapists can help you recover. 

Our physiotherapists are happy to talk to you about your treatment options.

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Ready to get started on the path to better mobility?

(613) 692-1847