Pelvic floor conditions caused by muscular imbalances
Pelvic floor conditions (often referred to as pelvic floor dysfunction) involve muscular imbalances within the musculature of the pelvic floor. These muscular problems can affect men as well as women although women are more prone to pelvic floor issues due to changes during pregnancy as well as during the menopausal years.
A common pelvic floor symptom is pain in areas such as:
- Pelvis, hip, buttock, abdomen, thigh or lower back, and/or pain in the tailbone
- External genitalia, vaginal opening, vaginal canal, rectum, penis, and/or testicles
Other pelvic floor symptoms and diagnoses include:
- Low back, pubic symphysis, hip and sacroiliac dysfunction
- Bowel or bladder dysfunction, including constipation, incontinence (fecal or urinary), overactive bladder, and pelvic organ prolapse
- Vaginismus (an involuntary tightening of vaginal muscles that can cause pain when using tampons, having intercourse, or undergoing gynecological exams)
- Sexual dysfunction such as erectile dysfunction or dyspareunia
Pelvic floor physical therapists also treat interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia, and conditions such as diastasis rectus abdominus (abdominal wall separation), which sometimes occurs as a result of pregnancy, as well as postsurgical pain or weakness, such as patients might experience after a hysterectomy or prostatectomy.
Testing and diagnosis for pelvic floor conditions
If you are experiencing pelvic floor symptoms or have a concern about pelvic floor conditions, be sure to talk to your primary care doctor, an OB/GYN, urologist or gastroenterologist. One of these doctors may then refer you to a pelvic floor physical therapist.
Diagnosis of pelvic floor dysfunction begins with a thorough physical examination. This may include an internal exam, either vaginally or rectally. Once the pelvic floor therapist has determined the cause of your symptoms, the therapist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that may include a combination of therapies, such as myofascial release and trigger point therapy, electrical stimulation therapy to recondition the pelvic floor muscles, biofeedback to assist with engagement or relaxation of pelvic floor muscles, and education in lifestyle adjustments to manage urinary frequency and urgency. Find out more about pelvic floor rehab at Main Line Health.
Main Line Health serves patients at hospitals and health centers throughout the western suburbs of Philadelphia. To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.