ZocdocAnswersWhat is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

Question

What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

What should I know about pelvic floor dysfunction? That's what my doctor just said I have, because I'm in my 20s and I have a LOT of trouble pooping. He talked about a special therapy program for people like me, but I have no idea what he's trying to tell me.

Answer

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common syndrome. I would recommend talking to your doctor more fully in order to better understand your specific condition and how to treat it. Pelvic floor dysfunction is syndrome--which means it is a collection of disorders. It is not well understood. Essentially, the pelvic floor is the bottom of the abdomen--the muscles covering the top of the hips. The floor is made of a group of muscles that "hold" the organs at the bottom of the pelvis/abdomen. These organs are the bladder, the colon/rectum and the vagina/uterus. As mentioned, it is not well understood--but some people develop dysfunction in those muscles that can causes symptoms in each of the three symptoms. What we believe occurs, is that the muscles normally have to work in a coordinated function (for example, in order to defecate (that is to poop) a set of muscles must contract to push the stool and then another set of muscles must relax in order to allow it to pass). If for some reason the muscles become weakened and dis-coordinated then the muscles do not work together but instead fight each other. The most common cause is muscle distension from pregnancy (either vaginal or c-section). If this is the case, the muscles must be trained to work together again. Biofeedback mechanisms can work, as can Kegel exercises. A physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor functioning can be helpful. I would recommend discussing this further with your doctor. A physical therapist who is a pelvic floor specialist can be helpful. If you have further questions--a uro-gynecologist can also be helpful. Good luck.

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