There are various types of pelvic floor dysfunction. Some of the commonly treated pelvic floor conditions for both men and women include:Urinary incontinence
There are 2 main types of incontinence. Stress Incontinence is leaking of urine when coughing, sneezing or laughing. Vigorous exercise such as gymnastics or Crossfit can also lead to leaking due to the over- recruitment of abdominal muscles and breath holding. If we are increasing intra-abdominal pressure, our muscles in the pelvic floor have to respond to the increased load and contract to not let any urine out. Urge incontinence is associated with a strong, uncontrollable need to void, with an inability to delay voiding. Mixed incontinence is a combination of both stress and urge incontinence. Other types of incontinence can include physical mobility issues getting to the washroom in time and frequent urination during the night.
Over active bladder
Increased urgency to urinate.
Having to urinate throughout the night.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when organs such as the bladder, cervix, or rectum descend into the vaginal canal. This can occur more commonly after a pregnancy, and into menopause. Research has shown that lower levels of estrogen can contribute to loss of muscle mass and lead to weakness of the pelvic floor muscles. Physiotherapy can effectively treat and even cure mild to moderate cases of pelvic organ prolapse without any form of surgery.
Pre and post-natal education and exercise
Pre and post-natal physiotherapy provides a continuum of care through the childbearing years. It includes prenatal screening for pregnancy-related orthopedic or pelvic floor problems, prenatal exercise, education for labor and delivery, post-natal education and exercise, and gradual progressive training for return to sports or other recreational activities. A strong emphasis is placed on optimizing the flexibility, coordination, tone, and strength of the muscles of the pelvis and abdominal unit, especially the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles.
Chronic constipation is frequently a cause of damage to the pelvic floor muscles and fascial support (ligaments). Chronic constipation can cause stretching of the pudendal nerve due to prolonged and repetitive straining (leading to pelvic floor weakness secondary to nerve damage). Constipation also creates more pressure on the bladder and urethra which may cause increased urinary frequency or retention.
Fecal incontinence is the inability to control bowel movements, causing stool (feces) to leak unexpectedly from the rectum. Also called bowel incontinence, fecal incontinence ranges from an occasional leakage of stool while passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control. Common causes of fecal incontinence include diarrhea, constipation, and muscle or nerve damage. The muscle or nerve damage may be associated with aging or with giving birth.
Diastasis rectus abdominus
A Diastasis rectus abdominus is a separation in the rectus abdominis, also known as the “6-pack” muscle. It most often occurs during pregnancy. Sometimes it will spontaneously correct following birth, but it does not always.
Painful tail bone
Pelvic pain and abdominal weakness
There can be many reasons for experiencing pelvic pain from vulvodynia to dysmenorrhea (pain with menstrual periods) to pain with intercourse. There can be tightness or increased muscle tone in the pelvic floor muscles that may be contributing to pelvic pain. Internal manual therapy and breathing techniques can help release trigger points and stretch tight muscles, which can effectively treat these painful syndromes.
Common treatment options:
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