The pelvic floor is a cluster of muscles, nerves, connective tissues, and ligaments shaped like a hammock to support the rectum and bladder. Both men and women have this useful body part. Women who have been pregnant, especially those who have had a vaginal delivery experience significant stretch and pressures on the pelvic floor. However, even in women who have not had pregnancies the pelvic floor serves the additional purpose of helping the vagina and uterus to function properly, making disorders more common among the female demographic.
As women grow older, they become more likely to experience pelvic floor dysfunctions. That doesn’t mean that they are an acceptable or normal part of ageing though. They can have a huge impact on quality of life. The good news is that they can usually be reversed or managed with treatment. You just need to look out for the following typical symptoms so the problem could be addressed early.
You can’t control your bladder
Technically, suffering from urinary incontinence means that you have a pelvic floor disorder. Women who do cross-fit type workouts or heavy weight-lifting commonly experience incontinence due to the pressure that strenuous exercises and lifting put on the bladder. Some people also have stress incontinence which is leakage from sneezing, laughing, or coughing.
You can’t control your bowels
Faecal incontinence or leaky stool is one of the most common types of pelvic floor dysfunctions. Sometimes, it is caused by another type of health issues like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease, and can affect both women and men. It often becomes troublesome in otherwise healthy females after menopause.
Your reproductive organs feel kind of weird
Does your vagina feel full or heavy? Does it ache? Does the discomfort only get worse throughout the day? That may be a sign that you’re suffering from a pelvic floor disorder. Those in aged care should tell their support team immediately so they can arrange for a medical check-up with a physician.
Your vagina has an odd bulge
When you feel like there is something in your genitals or that there is a noticeable bulge, you may be experiencing a vaginal prolapse. Those who take the time to actually look may see tissue coming out of the vagina. This can be gradual or sudden after a bad cough. Common among women who gave birth, it is often a result of weak pelvic muscles and supporting tissues causing things to fall out of place.
You are having trouble urinating
If you feel like you can’t fully empty your bladder or you have difficulty weeing no matter how hard you try, you have a urinary tract infection. When this persists, you could be looking at pelvic floor problem.
You are overweight
Problems with your pelvic floor do not lead to obesity. However, being overweight does contribute towards making issues worse due to the pressure being placed on the muscles. A higher body mass index (BMI) is said to be associated with greater risks of having one or more pelvic floor conditions.
You feel that intercourse is painful
Sex is supposed to feel good, so if you experience muscle spasms or pain while doing it, you could have problems with your pelvic floor. Of course, there are other possible reasons why intercourse could be painful, so get yourself checked by a doctor as soon as you can.
You are constipated
So that you can easily empty your bowels, your pelvic floor muscles usually contract and relax in a certain manner at the right time. However, if you have been constantly straining to go, it could be a symptom of a pelvic floor issue.
The best way to treat pelvic floor conditions is early treatment. You can seek help from your General Practitioner or physiotherapists like us at Activate Physiotherapy. We can assist you to begin to manage pelvic floor conditions as well as any other aches and pains such as arthritis, back and neck pain, shoulder or knee injuries pre- or post surgery and even the management of fractures and broken bones. We have clinics across Brisbane located in Stafford and Gumdale. If you have any questions about your symptoms, please feel free to pay us a visit, send us an email or book an appointment for your physiotherapy, exercise physiology or clinical Pilates needs.