As mentioned in Pelvic Floor 101: Part 1, when our pelvic floor isn’t doing its job or is causing pain, it is called Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. And it comes with a variety of issues. Simply put, it can be broken down into two types:
Hypertonic Pelvic Floor
This is a result of the body continually contracting and tightening the muscles of the pelvic floor. . Please be aware: A TIGHT FLOOR IS NOT A STRONG FLOOR. It must be released and then strengthened to work properly.
Symptoms can include frequent urination – possibly feeling like you aren’t going to make it to the bathroom in time (urge incontinence), painful urination, feeling like you have to force urination, leaking (incontinence of either/both urine and stool), constipation (straining hard to pass a bowel movement), pain in the pelvic region, pain during sex, the inability to insert a tampon or have sex, unexplained back pain and/or leg pain.
Hypotonic Pelvic Floor
This is a result of weak or lax muscles that over overly stretched and unable to work properly to provide support.
Symptoms can include frequent urination, leaking when coughing, sneezing, laughing or with quick or strenuous movement, a heavy sensation in the genital area, organ prolapse.
What causes Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Many things can contribute:
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Leading a stressful life causing us to clench and hold our muscles
- Poor posturing habits and crossing our legs
- Overusing the pelvic muscles (like going to the bathroom too often or pushing too hard), eventually leading to poor muscle coordination and/or overly stretched muscles.
- Injuries to the pelvic area (like a fall or a car accident)
- Pelvic and abdominal surgeries
- Over-exercising/weight training
- Being overweight and/or being out of shape
- Advancing age
- Sexual abuse
Can pelvic floor dysfunction be treated?
Luckily, in many cases, pelvic floor dysfunction can be treated relatively easily. We will look at ways to improve and treat it in part 3.