A group of muscles located between your tailbone and pubic bone shares the responsibility of supporting all of the organs in your pelvis, including your bladder and reproductive organs. Together, they’re called the pelvic floor. Typically, these muscles provide reliable support and allow you to tighten the openings of your anus, urethra, and vagina. Relaxing your pelvic floor muscles enables you to excrete waste products, such as urine and feces, smoothly.
Pelvic floor muscles can get weaker over time as you age. If you’ve been pregnant and given birth, that may also accelerate pelvic floor weakness.
No matter why you have weak pelvic floor muscles, Elation Physical Therapy in Houston and Pearland, Texas, can help you strengthen them through physical therapy to reduce inconvenient, painful, and often embarrassing complications. Physical therapists Roy Rivera, Jr., PT, PhD, DPT, MCHES, and Jonathan Koborsi, PT, DPT, and the rest of our team, want you to understand some of the problems that arise from a weak pelvic floor. We also encourage you to book an appointment when you notice them.
Incontinence is a fancy term for the inability to hold in your urine and feces. Urinary incontinence can cause you to dribble urine or even fully evacuate your bladder before you can get to a bathroom, and fecal incontinence causes gas or feces to leak out without your control.
Both types of incontinence from a weak pelvic floor can easily put you in an awkward position while in public, cause embarrassment, and even disrupt your quality of life. If either is severe, you might need to use adult diapers until you can rehabilitate your pelvic floor through physical therapy, biofeedback, and other treatments.
2. Low back pain
Pain is a common sign of pelvic floor weakness or dysfunction, including pain in your lower back. Pelvic floor problems likely aren’t your first thought with back pain as there are many other possible causes. However, if you don’t have a spinal injury or nerve impingement, pelvic floor weakness might be worth exploring as a cause of the aching in your low back.
3. Sexual dysfunction
Pelvic floor weakness frequently causes sexual dysfunction in both men and women differently. In women, this can manifest as pain during sex. If you experience sexual pain from a weak pelvic floor, it’s because your pelvic floor muscles are overworking to compensate for their weakness. Conversely, some women experience decreased sensation or sensitivity in their vaginas due to a weak pelvic floor.
Men experiencing sexual dysfunction because of pelvic floor weakness often experience erectile dysfunction, which happens when they struggle to get or maintain an erection that stays firm enough for sexual intercourse. This may or may not be due to any pelvic pain or muscle tension you have from the weakness of your pelvic floor.
Pelvic prolapse is one of the more serious possible complications of a weak pelvic floor. It happens when your pelvic floor muscles become so weak that they can no longer effectively serve their function of supporting the organs in your pelvis.
Much more common in women than in men, pelvic organ prolapse causes organs, such as your bladder and uterus, to slide down into your vagina or rectum. You can feel a bulge in the orifice when this happens, and many patients report the sensation of fullness or aching in the area because of prolapse as well. You might need to push the organs back into place every so often.
5. Pelvic pain
On the topic of pain, pelvic pain (including increased menstrual pain) is a prevalent problem with pelvic floor weakness. Any pain or aching in your pelvis might ramp up when you use the restroom.
If you wouldn’t describe the sensation you feel in your pelvis as pain; it might be more akin to fullness or heaviness. Fortunately, as you build those muscles back up with pelvic floor physical therapy and relaxation techniques, you can improve some of their tension and discomfort.
If you’re ready to explore physical therapy as a solution for your weak pelvic floor and its complications, schedule a visit with Elation Physical Therapy over the phone or online today.