Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) is an umbrella term used to describe one or more of the following:
- Inability to correctly contract the pelvic floor muscles
- Inability to correctly relax the pelvic floor muscles
- Inability to coordinate the pelvic floor muscles
Reasons for PFD can be numerous, ranging from pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, menopause, excessive straining from constipation, chronic coughing, surgery, or genetics. Pelvic floor dysfunction affects both males and females and can occur at any age.
What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
The pelvic floor is a sheet of muscle that holds important lower organs, such as the kidneys, the gastrointestinal tract, and the human body. Any failure of the pelvic floor affects these organ systems, specifically their functions, like urinating and defecating. The rhythmic contraction and relaxation of the pelvic floor aid these functions. In the event of pelvic floor dysfunction, the patient may suffer from uncomfortable symptoms. Women are especially prone to pelvic floor dysfunction due to the strain put on the pelvic floor during pregnancy, vaginal birth, and cesarean sections.
The pelvic floor muscles support lower body organs and have passages like the anus, urethra and vagina. The pelvic floor helps hold these passages closed until they are directed by the body. People with normal pelvic floor function have no problem passing urine or having complete bowel movements. However, affected persons would have difficulties with voiding movements, and all body functions that employ pelvic floor muscles would be impacted. Common complaints include lower back pain, pelvic floor spasms, painful intercourse etc.