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Pelvic Dyssynergia: More Than You Think You Know

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What is pelvic floor dyssynergia?
Signs
Diagnosis
Treatment
Prevention
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What is Pelvic Dyssynergia?
Pelvic floor dyssynergia is when the muscles in the bottom part of your belly don't work together properly. This can make it hard to use the bathroom comfortably.

Signs of pelvic floor dyssynergia;
- Difficulty starting or stopping urination
- Pelvic pressure, heaviness or aching
- Anorectal pain or itching
- Incomplete bowel movement
- Abdominal pain or bloating
- Pain caused by sexual abuse

How pelvic floor dyssynergia is diagnosed;
To diagnose pelvic floor dyssynergia, doctors often use a special test called anorectal manometry. This test checks how well the muscles in your bottom area are working when you try to use the bathroom.

How to pelvic floor dyssynergia is treated;
- Physical therapy
- Lifestyle modifications
- Medications
- Biofeedback therapy
- Behavioral therapy

How to prevent pelvic floor dyssynergia;
- Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with exercises like Kegels.
- Do regular stretches and exercises for your pelvic area.
- Keep a good posture to help your pelvic organs.
- Stay at a healthy weight to lessen pressure on your pelvic muscles.
- Eat fiber, drink lots of water, and exercise to avoid constipation.
- Manage stress to lower the risk of pelvic floor problems.
- Avoid lifting heavy things or high-impact activities like running or jumping.

Pelvic Dyssynergia is a complex medical condition characterized by difficulty with bowel movements because specific muscles in your pelvis cannot correctly relax. It is a type of bladder dysfunction that can significantly impact a person's quality of life. Let's discuss what is pelvic dyssynergia, its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment.

We'll also explore related questions associated with the anal sphincter.

What is pelvic floor dyssynergia?

[1] Pelvic floor dyssynergia is a condition that affects the pelvic floor muscles and results in difficulty with bladder control. It is sometimes known as dysfunctional voiding or non-relaxing pelvic floor disorder. This condition can cause difficulty urinating, a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying, urinary retention, and urinary incontinence. In addition, it can lead to frequent urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and kidney damage.

Although Pelvic floor dyssynergia is more common in women than men, the condition happens to both men and women. [2]

 diagram showing the pelvic floor muscles in both men and women in a post about Pelvic Dyssynergia

What are the signs and symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction?

Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause a variety of symptoms, ranging from uncomfortable to severe. The most common signs and symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include: [3]

  • Difficulty starting or stopping urination
  • Pelvic pressure, heaviness or aching
  • Anorectal pain or itching
  • Incomplete bowel movement
  • Abdominal pain or bloating
  • Pain caused by sexual abuse

It is important to note that these symptoms can occur due to other conditions, so get a proper diagnosis from your doctor if you're experiencing any of the above.

A woman struggling with pain from Pelvic Dyssynergia

What causes pelvic floor dyssynergia?

The exact cause of pelvic floor dyssynergia is unknown, but it is thought to be linked to an underlying neurological issue. In some cases, the condition may be caused by physical trauma or psychological stress, though the exact connection between these factors is unclear. [4] Understanding the emotional aspects of health, such as the role of affective communication, can be crucial in managing conditions like pelvic floor dyssynergia.

Nevertheless, several risk factors can lead to pelvic floor disorders, including:

Weakness or tension in the pelvic floor muscles

Weakness or tension in the pelvic floor muscles can result from injuries such as childbirth, pelvic surgery, traumatic injuries, painful intercourse or chronic conditions such as endometriosis or fibroids. It can also result from muscular imbalances due to poor posture or body mechanics. [5]

Joint instability

Joint instability can cause pelvic outlet obstruction and result in pelvic floor dysfunction. This can occur in any of the joints in the pelvis and is a result of various factors, including trauma, pregnancy, or muscle imbalances. [6]

Pelvic floor overactivity

Pelvic floor overactivity can be caused by trauma, scarring, or chronic muscular tension in the pelvic floor muscles. It can occur due to an overly sensitive neurological system, which causes the pelvic floor muscles to spasm or contract excessively in response to certain stimuli. [7]

Neurological dysfunction

Neurological dysfunction can be caused by diseases such as multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries that can disrupt the nerve signals from the brain to the pelvic floor muscles, leading to dysfunction. [8]

Pregnancy

Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy can affect the tone and strength of the pelvic floor muscles, resulting in dysfunction. [8] Pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy are essential for maintaining normal function and preventing long-term damage. [9]

Stress

Stress can exacerbate pelvic floor dyssynergia by increasing pelvic floor muscle activity. Relaxation techniques and lifestyle modifications can help to reduce stress levels and improve symptoms. [10]

Posture

Poor posture can lead to muscle imbalances causing pelvic floor disorders. Maintaining correct posture while standing, sitting, and performing activities will help prevent this condition. Understanding the underlying causes of pelvic dyssynergia makes it possible to identify treatment options better and improve one's overall pelvic health. [10] Managing stress is crucial, and understanding conditions like crippling anxiety can provide insights into better stress management.

A woman getting diagnosed with Pelvic Dyssynergia

How is pelvic floor dyssynergia diagnosed?

It can be challenging to diagnose pelvic dyssynergia since it shares many symptoms with other conditions, such as chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. It's best to consult your doctor if you notice any signs or symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction as a thorough medical evaluation is necessary to determine the underlying cause. [11]

When diagnosing pelvic floor dyssynergia, your doctor may ask about your medical history, lifestyle, habits, and symptoms. They may also perform an internal exam to evaluate and assess the strength of your pelvic floor muscles, posture and mobility. [12]

Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans can help identify any structural problems causing spastic pelvic floor syndrome. Your doctor may also order blood tests to rule out other underlying conditions. [13] [14]

Nonetheless, if imaging tests and blood tests don't provide enough information, your doctor may recommend a procedure called Cystometry. It involves inserting a thin tube into your bladder to measure pressure and detect abnormal patterns of bladder contraction.

Moreover, if constipation is an issue, they may order a colonoscopy to get a better look at the structure and functioning of your large intestine.

By accurately diagnosing the cause of your pelvic floor dysfunction, your doctor can create a personalized treatment plan to help alleviate your constipation symptoms and improve your quality of life. [15]

How do you treat pelvic floor dyssynergia?

Treating pelvic floor dyssynergia is a multidisciplinary approach that includes physical therapy, biofeedback, lifestyle modifications, and medications. [16]

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is one of the most essential components of treatment for pelvic dyssynergia. Physical therapists work with patients to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles and improve their coordination. You can use techniques such as manual release therapy, neuromuscular re-education, and myofascial release to help restore normal muscle tone and functioning. [17]

Lifestyle modifications

Lifestyle modifications play a significant role in the treatment of pelvic floor dyssynergia. Simple changes such as avoiding certain activities or positions that pressure the pelvic organs can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning. In addition, pelvic floor exercises such as Kegels and Pilates can help strengthen the muscles and improve coordination. [19]

Medications

Sometimes, your physician will prescribe medications to help reduce symptoms of pelvic floor dyssynergia. Stool softeners like Colace, MiraLAX, senna, or generic stool softeners are some medications you can buy over-the-counter at the pharmacy. [20]

What's more, topical Estrogen creams may be prescribed to help treat vaginal dryness and dyspareunia (painful intercourse). [21]

Biofeedback therapy

Biofeedback therapy is a technique that helps patients learn how to properly contract and relax their pelvic muscles, improving coordination and function. Biofeedback techniques are also sometimes recommended for use at home to promote pelvic floor relaxation. Using biofeedback devices can be beneficial for those unable to attend regular physical therapy appointments. [22]

Behavioral therapy

Behavioral therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals identify negative thought patterns and behaviors which can lead to further worsening of symptoms. CBT teaches people new coping skills which they can use to manage their pain and other symptoms linked with pelvic floor dyssynergia. [23]

Overall, the goal of treatment for pelvic floor dyssynergia is to restore normal muscle tone and coordination. With a combination of physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, Biofeedback and medications, many people with this condition can successfully manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. [24] Understanding and addressing thought patterns is crucial, as discussed in the article on catastrophic thinking disorder.

How to prevent pelvic dyssynergia

Some preventive strategies for pelvic dyssynergia include: [25]

  1. Develop good pelvic floor muscle strength and control through exercises such as Kegels and pelvic floor contractions.
  2. Performing regular stretching and strengthening exercises for the pelvic area.
  3. Practice good posture to reduce strain on the pelvic organs.
  4. Maintaining a healthy weight and body composition reduces pressure on the pelvic floor muscles.
  5. Drink plenty of fluids, eat a high-fiber diet, take fiber supplements and do regular exercise to reduce slow transit constipation and excessive straining during bowel movements.
  6. Managing stress levels to reduce the risk of dyssynergic defecation.
  7. Avoid activities that may put undue strain on the pelvic area, such as lifting heavy objects or performing high-impact activities like running or jumping.

Final words

Pelvic floor dyssynergia is a condition that seems difficult to prevent, however, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of developing it. You reduce your risk of developing pelvic dyssynergia and its symptoms by following the preventive measures. However, if you're experiencing any symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, seek medical advice from your healthcare provider so you can receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Creating a supportive environment, as discussed in Gentle Parenting Techniques, can also be beneficial for individuals dealing with health issues like pelvic floor dyssynergia.

FAQ

What Causes The Anal Sphincter Muscle To Become Weak?

Weak sphincter muscles occur due to various conditions and issues, including multiple sclerosis or stroke, diabetes, spinal cord injuries, and pelvic organ prolapse. These conditions can weaken the muscles of the pelvic floor, which can, in turn, lead to weakened sphincter muscles. Finally, certain medications or treatments, such as radiation therapy for cancer, can also cause the weakening of the sphincter muscles.

References

  1. Stanford Health Care: Pelvic Floor Dyssynergia
  2. National Library of Medicine: The prevalence of pelvic floor disorders and their relationship to gender, age, parity and mode of delivery
  3. [5] Cleveland Clinic: Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
  4. Cleveland Clinic: Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
  5. Somatic Movement Center: Understanding the Pelvic Floor Muscles and Pelvic Pain
  6. Caring Medical: Pelvic Floor Disorders, Pelvic Girdle Pain, and Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction following a sports injury.
  7. Embrace Physiotherapy: How to treat Overactive Pelvic Floor muscles.
  8. Pelvic Awareness Project; Does Nerve Damage Cause Pelvic Floor Disorders?
  9. PubMed: Pelvic floor dysfunction, and effects of pregnancy and mode of delivery on pelvic floor
  10. Pregnancy Birth & Baby: Pelvic floor exercises
  11. Physiopedia: The impact of stress and cortisol levels on pelvic pain and pelvic stress reflex response.
  12. Pelvic Floor List: Is posture important for continence?
  13. PubMed: Evidence for pelvic floor dyssynergia in patients with irritable bowel syndrome
  14. Stanford Medicine: CT Scan to Diagnose Pelvic Pain
  15. RSNA: MRI of the Male Pelvic Floor
  16. John Hopkins Medicine: Cystometry
  17. Stanford Health Care: Pelvic Floor Dyssynergia Treatments
  18. WebMD: What Is Pelvic Floor Therapy?
  19. Kegel 8: Lifestyle Changes.
  20. Drugs.com: Laxatives
  21. The Cleveland Clinic: Dyspareunia (Painful Intercourse)
  22. Science Direct: Biofeedback – an overview
  23. Very Well Mind: What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?
  24. Mayoclinic: Treating patients with pelvic floor dysfunction
  25. NICE’s Pelvic floor dysfunction: prevention and non-surgical management

⚠️Disclaimer:
The information provided on this health blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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