Understanding Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Pelvic floor dysfunction

Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) is a condition that affects both men and women, although it is more commonly seen in women. PFD can cause a variety of symptoms, including pain, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction. In this blog, we\’ll discuss the causes and symptoms of PFD, as well as the available treatment options.

Causes of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support the pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum. PFD can occur when the pelvic floor muscles become weak, tight, or have muscle spasms.

The following are some common causes of PFD:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth: The pelvic floor muscles can become weakened or damaged during pregnancy and childbirth, leading to PFD.
  • Chronic constipation: Straining to have a bowel movement can weaken the pelvic floor muscles over time.
  • Chronic coughing: Similar to chronic constipation, frequent coughing can put a strain on the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Surgery: Pelvic surgery, such as a hysterectomy, can damage the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Aging: As we age, the pelvic floor muscles naturally weaken.
  • Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

The symptoms of PFD can vary from person to person, and some people may not experience any symptoms at all. However, common symptoms of PFD include:

  • Urinary incontinence: This is when urine leaks out involuntarily, either during physical activity or when coughing or sneezing.
  • Fecal incontinence: This is when stool leaks out involuntarily.
  • Pelvic pain: This can include pain in the lower back, hips, or genitals.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse: This can be caused by muscle spasms in the pelvic floor.
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder or bowel: This can be caused by tight pelvic floor muscles.

Treatment Options for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

There are several treatment options available for PFD, and the best treatment plan will depend on the cause and severity of the condition. Some common treatment options include:

  • Pelvic floor physical therapy: This involves working with a physical therapist who specializes in PFD. The therapist will teach you exercises to strengthen or relax the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as muscle relaxants or antidepressants, can help alleviate symptoms of PFD.
  • Biofeedback: This technique uses sensors to provide feedback about muscle tension in the pelvic floor. This can help you learn how to relax or strengthen the muscles.
  • Surgery: In severe cases of PFD, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace damaged pelvic floor muscles.


Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause a variety of symptoms that can greatly impact a person’s quality of life. If you are experiencing any symptoms of PFD, it’s important to talk to trained physical therapist at Total Performance Physical Therapy in HorshamNorth WalesEast NorritonHarleysville, and Hatfield, PA  about treatment options. Pelvic floor physical therapy is often a highly effective treatment option, but there are other options available as well. With the right treatment plan, most people with PFD can see a significant improvement in their symptoms.


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