What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction? Diagnosis & Treatment of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction? Diagnosis & Treatment of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

The human physiology is a complex subject, and a simple deviation in our bodily system can lead to a major health issue. It is necessary for all our systems to be working properly in our body, which starts from our digestive system to our excretory system. The pelvic floor refers to a group of muscles located in our pelvic area along with the uterus, prostate, rectum and bladder. Pelvic floor dysfunction can happen to anyone, irrespective of age, gender or general physical health. For this reason, pelvic floor dysfunction diagnosis is to be done immediately by a certified doctor to ensure prompt treatment and fast recovery.

What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

Pelvic floor dysfunctions can be defined as a group of disorders which can alter our bowel movement, resulting in pelvic pain and discomfort. Patients suffering from this ailment are unable to relax their pelvic muscles but contract them, which results in incomplete or no bowel movement. Doctors who have performed pelvic floor dysfunction diagnosis have reported that the common causes may be traumatic injuries to the pelvic floor, as in the case of accidents or complications in childbirth. Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include the need for frequent bowel movement, feeling of incomplete bowel movement, constipation, frequent need for urination and pain in the pelvic region.

How do Doctors Perform a Pelvic Floor dysfunction Diagnosis?

  • Doctors begin the pelvic floor dysfunction diagnosis by taking a careful medical history of the patient by asking about their pelvic pain, bowel movements, urination and sexual intercourse. Then, the physician will evaluate the capability of your pelvic muscles by checking for muscle spasms or muscle weakness. Your doctor might check your pelvic muscle control by placing surface electrodes or a perineometer into your rectum or vagina.

  • Diagnosis can also be done by a test called the defecating proctogram, for which you will be given an enema of a thick liquid. Your physician will use a video X-ray to detect the movement of your pelvic muscles as they attempt to push the liquid out of your rectum.

  • Some physicians can also use an uroflow test to perform a pelvic floor dysfunction diagnosis. A weak flow of urine or frequent pauses can indicate pelvic floor dysfunction. Your doctor may also ask for a number of medical tests to be done to help with the diagnosis of the situation and proceed to treatment faster.

1. Anal/Anorectal Manometry

This test helps to evaluate the strength of the anal sphincter or the rectum muscles. This diagnosis is usually performed at an endoscopy center, and requires the patient to push and strain to determine the correct strength of his pelvic muscles.

2. Cytoscopy

This test helps the doctors to look inside the rectum or urethra to look for kidney stones, tumors or inflammation.

3. Endoanal/Endorectal Ultrasound

Using sound waves, this test takes pictures of the structure of the pelvis, such as the anus, rectal wall and the pelvic control muscles. It also helps to detect problems such as rectocele, rectal prolapse or enterocele.

4. Electromyography/Pudendal Nerve Motor Latency Testing

These tests help in checking the efficiency of the nerves of the pelvic floor and anal sphincter, while the second test checks the efficiency of just the Pudendal nerve. Both of these tests are performed in the office and require needles and short doses of electricity.

5. Colonic Transit Study

A colonic transit study evaluates the passage of stool through the colonic passage through a series of X-rays, which helps in detecting potential causes of pelvic floor dysfunction and constipation. The patient takes a pill marked with metal markers, which can be seen in the x-rays for the next few days.

6. Videodefecogram

A videodefecogram is part of a defogram, which is a special x-ray taken during a bowel movement, to help detect bowel movement. Apart from this method, being extremely helpful to detect the cause of pelvic floor dysfunction, the test also includes fluoroscopy or MRI scans for detection.

After the diagnosis, treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction can be provided for in the following ways –

  • Making dietary changes such as increasing fiber and fluid intake to help with bowel movement.
  • Biofeedback, which includes treatment involving electrical stimulation of pelvic floor muscles, ultrasound or massage therapy to improve rectal muscle sensation and pelvic muscle contraction.

  • Special injections and relaxation techniques such as meditation and warm baths.

  • If your pelvic floor dysfunction diagnosis requires it, your physician might refer you for surgery.

A pelvic floor dysfunction is considered an uncomfortable and embarrassing disorder, it is better to contact the best gastroenterologist in the city who, with his team of specialized doctors would be able to guide you through your treatment on your way to a healthy life.

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sameer Kumar (MBBS, MS, FMAS, DMAS)Obstetrician & Gynecologist