Why Do I Have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

By Shannon Strauch, PTA, STMT-1 on 3/20/2024

pelvic floor dysfunction

Experiencing pelvic dysfunction and wonder, "What did I do to make this happen?" While there may be some people who know exactly when and why they're having pelvic issues (injury, child birth, etc.), a lot of times pelvic floor dysfunction is an accumulation of things over time. It's also important to remember that pelvic dysfunction is not exclusive to women, but men can experience this as well.

Some common factors include:

  1. Childbirth:

    The process of childbirth, especially vaginal delivery, can put significant strain on the pelvic floor muscles and tissues. This strain can lead to weakening or injury of the pelvic floor muscles, causing dysfunction.

  2. Pregnancy:

    During pregnancy, hormonal changes, increased pressure on the pelvic organs, and the weight of the baby can affect the pelvic floor muscles and contribute to dysfunction.

  3. Trauma during delivery:

    Certain delivery methods, such as forceps delivery or an episiotomy, can cause trauma to the pelvic floor muscles and tissues, increasing the risk of dysfunction.

  4. Muscle imbalances:

    Weakness or tightness in other muscle groups, such as the abdominal or hip muscles, can also affect pelvic floor function. Imbalances in these muscles can put additional strain on the pelvic floor or alter its alignment and function.

  5. Posture:

    Butt gripping posture can cause an increase in tightness in the posterior fibers of the pelvic floor muscles. Butt gripping is also common in those with stressful jobs or high anxiety. Increased lumbar lordosis and anterior pelvic tilt can cause weakness of your Transverse Abdominis and anterior pelvic floor muscles.

  6. Age and hormonal changes:

    As women age, hormonal changes like menopause can lead to changes in pelvic floor support and function, increasing the risk of dysfunction such as urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, or pelvic organ prolapse

  7. Lifestyle factors:

    Factors like obesity, chronic constipation, heavy lifting, or high-impact activities or sports can also contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction.

  8. Digestion:

    People who are gluten intolerant, or have digestive issues such as Chron's or ulcerative colitis can experience pelvic floor dysfunction since the pelvic floor helps support the reproductive, urinary, and digestive systems

  9. Chronic constipation:

    Straining during bowel movements over a long period of time can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and lead to dysfunction.

  10. Chronic coughing:

    Conditions like asthma, chronic bronchitis, or smoking-related lung disease can cause frequent coughing, which can put pressure on the pelvic floor and contribute to dysfunction.

  11. Pelvic surgery:

    Surgeries involving the pelvic area, such as hysterectomy or prostate surgery, can sometimes lead to pelvic floor dysfunction due to changes in anatomy or nerve damage.

  12. Trauma:

    Trauma can include physical trauma, sexual trauma, medical trauma, or PTSD and this can manifest itself into pelvic floor dysfunction

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