Signs of a Pelvic Floor Problem
Posted in Physiotherapy on Mar 10, 2015.
What are the Signs of a Pelvic Floor Problem?
Common signs that can indicate a pelvic floor problem include:
- accidentally leaking urine when you exercise, laugh, cough or sneeze
- needing to get to the toilet in a hurry or not making it there in time
- constantly needing to go to the toilet
- finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel
- accidentally losing control of your bladder or bowel
- accidentally passing wind
- a prolapse in women, this may be felt as a bulge in the vagina or a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, pulling, dragging or dropping in men, this may be felt as a bulge in the rectum or a feeling of needing to use their bowels but not actually needing to go
- pain in your pelvic area, or
- painful sex .
How do pelvic floor problems occur?
Pelvic floor problems can occur when the pelvic floor muscles are stretched, weakened or too tight. Some people have weak pelvic floor muscles from an early age, whilst others notice problems after certain life stages such as pregnancy, childbirth or menopause. Some people have pelvic floor muscles that are too tight and cannot relax. This can be made worse by doing squeezing exercises and overworking the muscles without learning how to relax .
Pelvic floor muscle fitness is affected by a number of things. These include:
- not keeping them active or over working them
- pregnancy and childbirth
- diminished muscle integrity due to weakness, tearing or cutting
- a history of back pain
- ongoing chronic constipation and straining to empty the bowels
- being overweight, obese or having a body mass index (BMI) over 25
- heavy lifting (e.g. at work or the gym)
- abnormal nerve function
- low estrogen due to hysterectomy or menopause
- nerve or internal sphincter damage caused by prostrate surgery
- a chronic cough or sneeze, including those linked to asthma, bronchitis, smoking, lung disorders or hayfever
- torn or avulsed fascia, which leaves an otherwise functional muscle unattached to the anchoring structures
- previous injury to the pelvic region (e.g. a fall, surgery or pelvic radiotherapy), and
- growing older.
If you experience pelvic floor (or bladder or bowel control) problems it is advisable to see one of our Shelbourne Continence Physiotherapists(Cathy Stedman, Lindsay Baker or Laura Werner) to determine the cause of your symptoms and discuss the best treatment and management options to suit your needs. This may include an individually tailored pelvic floor muscle training program to help get you back in control. Please visit our Shelbourne Cook Street Clinic website for more information.
Pelvic Floor Research
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