Pelvic Floor Dysfunction - What is it and how do I know if I have it?

Updated: Aug 23


Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD)

Before I explain what PFD is, I will admit that I have a pelvic floor dysfunction. And I have had this probably much longer than I thought because I was not aware of all of the symptoms. Back in the early spring of 2020 I noticed some heaviness in my pelvis and I was pretty sure my bladder was prolapsed. I made an appointment right away with my doctor and she confirmed it was a prolapse. She pointed me to a pelvic floor therapist and I went through 8 weeks of therapy. After I finished I was almost hyper focused on my pelvic floor and was instructed to do many Kegels per day. I continued to have on and off lower back pain and occasional discomfort in my pelvic floor. Fast forward two years and I was having more pain than usual in my lower back and now in my hip rotators (groin). I chose a different pelvic floor therapist this time and she guided me out of pain with internal trigger point release of the tight pelvic floor muscles as well as strengthening exercises for my glutes and hamstrings. I also was told not to do very many Kegels as they were making my pelvic floor too tight. I am thankful that I teach movement and have a good body awareness so I was able to determine that I needed to see a pelvic floor therapist again.


It is my goal to educate as many folks on pelvic health as possible because I feel that women that have had children are at risk right after giving birth and as we age. Ideally, we should become aware of our pelvic health even before we get pregnant to avoid some of the issues that can occur with childbirth.

No matter if you have a female or male pelvis you can have PFD. Continue reading to learn more about PFD.


What is PFD?

The symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction are many and can include any of the following:

  • Urinary frequency, urgency, or incontinence, leakage of urine when sneezing, jumping, running, or coughing.

  • Fecal incontinence

  • Constipation and/or the feeling that you cannot complete a bowel movement

  • Lower back and/or hip pain.

  • Pain in the genitals or pain with sex.

  • Pressure in the pelvic region or rectum

  • Muscle spasms ( lower back, glutes)

  • Interstitial cystitis

  • Pelvic organ prolapse (rectal prolapse, cervical prolapse, bladder prolapse, or uterine prolapse)

  • PCOS, endometriosis, adenomyosis, and other diseases of the pelvis

  • Vulvodynia

  • Vaginismus

  • Pain in the pelvic floor or hips when sitting


What causes PFD?

  • Childbirth (episiotomy, tears, scar tissue)

  • Falls (since childhood)

  • Breath holding or not breathing properly

  • Contracting abs too much

  • Sexual abuse

  • Jobs - sitting too long or heavy lifting

  • Poor posture

  • Constipation (straining)

  • Surgery/Trauma


If you suspect you have PFD, seek out a Physical therapist that specializes in pelvic floor therapy. They can help you determine what is causing your dysfunction and get you started with a program to begin healing. Once you are finished with the therapist (6-8 weeks) it will be up to you to continue working to improve your condition. Seek out Pilates or yoga instructors that are versed in pelvic health and are familiar with various conditions to help you heal.



What can I do to help improve my pelvic floor?

Exercise:

Yoga, Pilates, Somatic movement, Qi Gong are all mind body practices that are helpful in healing PFD. Walking is great for the pelvic floor too!

Look for an instructor that specializes in PFD and they can help you select exercises that are appropriate for your condition.


Food:

There are certain foods that are healing and some that are irritating to the pelvic floor.

Caffeine, alcohol and sugar should be avoided. Be sure to drink plenty of filtered water everyday!


Sleep and Self-Care:

Both are so important when it comes to healing the pelvic floor. Be sure to take time for yourself to check in and breathe. A meditation practice or a soak in tub can be very relaxing for your pelvic floor and restorative for your mind.


For more information on pelvic health, please check out the following book:

Heal Pelvic Pain by Amy Stein, M.P.T.


*Please leave comments below or let me know if you have any questions. I am happy to help!




 



5 views0 comments