What Is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
The muscle group that supports a woman’s pelvic organs (bladder, rectum, and uterus) is known as the pelvic floor. These muscles work together, both relaxing and contracting, to help control bladder and bowel movements.
When your pelvic floor muscles are underactive or overactive, you can experience a condition known as pelvic floor dysfunction. With this, you may find you leak urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing, or running. You may even recognize an increased urge to urinate, painful urination, discomfort with intercourse, and pelvic pain, among other symptoms.
What Causes Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
While it is often hard to pinpoint the exact reason for your pelvic floor dysfunction, certain causes are more prevalent. Injuries to the pelvic area can throw the muscles into spasm, as can pregnancy and childbirth. High-stress jobs or lifestyles are also associated with pelvic floor dysfunction, since stress can trigger clenching. In many cases, individuals can suffer from dysfunction for years without even realizing.
Treating Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
The best treatment plans for pelvic floor dysfunction include a combination of techniques performed with the help of a trained physical therapist. These include:
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM): This treatment method is helpful for addressing tight pelvic muscles during and after pregnancy or following a C-section. Your clinician will use a set of handheld instruments to break down scar tissue and release strain.
Trigger Point Dry Needling: Dry needling uses a small needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate the underlying trigger point and connective tissues. Once inserted, the needle will typically cause a local twitch response that relaxes and changes muscle fiber length and releases muscle contraction.
Relaxation/Downtraining: With this treatment method, you will focus on retraining your body to relax through the introduction of deep breathing techniques. These techniques help your body escape a constant state of “fight-or-flight,” which helps lengthen pelvic floor muscles.
Biofeedback: Designed to help patients regain voluntary muscle control, biofeedback is a painless, non-surgical technique that utilizes special sensors to monitor a patient’s pelvic floor muscles. Sensors connect to software that provides visual and auditory feedback to the therapist and patient. HS