The muscles and connective tissues that make up the floor of your pelvis form a hammock that spans from your tailbone to your pubic bone, creating a wall of separation between your perineal region and your pelvic bowl. The pelvic floor provides support for your intestines, bladder and uterus, and its muscles govern bladder, bowel and sexual function. The muscles also facilitate childbirth as the fetus descends, causing the baby to rotate as it enters the birth canal.
Dysfunction of the Pelvic Floor
Signs that your pelvic floor may not be doing its job often begin with bladder and bowel leakage or constipation. High-impact sports like gymnastics, basketball and running create downward pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, putting athletes in those sports at risk for dysfunction. Pregnancy and childbirth may also lead to pelvic pain and dysfunction.
Prevalent symptoms include:
Urine leakage during exercise
Leakage when coughing, sneezing or laughing
Difficulty emptying your bladder and/or bowels
Sudden loss of bowel control
Prolapsed uterus or organs
Pain in the pelvis
Urine leakage during intercourse
Chronic Pelvic Pain (CPP)
Pain that persists for six months or longer is categorized as chronic, and CPP can seriously interfere with normal daily activities. CPP is common in women, accounting for about 10% of all visits to the gynecologist. It is also a relatively common urologic complaint among men under age 50.
Causes of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
A number of anatomical changes can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction. Tight or weakened muscles, joint impairment in the low back or pelvis or sensitive painful tissues may be contributing factors.
Other causes include:
Postural issues affecting the pelvis and low back
High-impact physical activities
Pregnancy and childbirth
Subcategories of pelvic floor dysfunction include:
Post surgical issues
Diagnosis of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Diagnosis begins with a medical history and physical exam of the pelvic floor. Your clinician will ask for detailed information about pregnancies and childbirth, and any difficulties or abnormalities you experienced associated with childbearing. They will also ask for details about surgical procedures in the pelvic region. Bowel patterns, nutrition, physical activity and lifestyle habits may hold clues that can help your provider make an accurate diagnosis.
At NYDNRehab, we use dynamic real-time ultrasound to visualize the structures of the pelvic floor. During a diagnostic ultrasound session, both patient and clinician can view the muscles of the pelvis in motion to assess for abnormalities.
With real-time ultrasound imaging, we are able to diagnose and treat a number of conditions, including:
Low back pain
Chronic pelvic pain
Hip and groin pain
Treatment Options for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Traditional treatment mostly centers on pain management and coping strategies. Traditional interventions often include:
Most traditional approaches fail to get at the root cause of dysfunction and correct it. However, pelvic dysfunction can be safely and effectively treated without drugs or surgery.
At NYDNRehab, we used cutting edge technologies and innovative therapies to diagnose and treat your condition. Our unique corrective approach sets us apart from other clinics and medical practitioners whose primary focus is pain management.
Pelvic floor Physical Therapy
ESWT (extracorporeal shock wave therapy
Muscle strengthening, stretching and relaxation
Our goal is to restore optimal pelvic floor function, so you can enjoy an improved quality of life.