What is the Pelvic Floor?
You probably don’t think about your pelvic floor muscles very often, and you may not have even heard the term before or know what parts of the body it refers to, but these muscles are extremely important. Stretching between the tailbone and the pubic bone, your pelvic floor muscles support the bowel, rectum, and bladder. In men, this includes the prostate. In women, these muscles also support the uterus and by extension, the womb. Pelvic floor muscles are crucial to the function of these pelvic organs. Much like the muscles in our arms or abdomen, these muscles can be consciously controlled and trained.
What are Pelvic Floor Disorders
The pelvic floor muscles can be torn, pulled, or strained, just like all the other muscles in the body. Pelvic floor disorders can result from this kind of damage or if the muscles become weak over time. Essentially, having a pelvic floor disorder means a person cannot correctly relax and control these muscles to have a bowel movement or urinate. There are three main types of pelvic floor disorders:
- Lack of bowel control, also called fecal incontinence
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Obstructive defecation, which is the inability to pass stool
Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Disorders
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Pelvic floor disorders are actually a very common condition, and there is no shame in seeking treatment or experiencing any of the symptoms. These can include:
- Pain or pressure in the rectum
- A bulge in the rectum
- Straining or pain during bowel movements
- A heavy feeling in the pelvis
- Muscle spasms in the pelvis
- (For women) experiencing pain during sex
- (For men) trouble getting or keeping an erection