Pelvic floor dysfunction can manifest in several different ways and has a variety of root causes. Whatever is going on with your pelvic floor, the condition can be frustrating to deal with. Thankfully, there are ways to treat and manage pelvic floor dysfunction.
The pelvic floor is a collective term for the muscles that support your uterus, bladder and bowel. It helps control the passage of urine, faeces and wind. When your pelvic floor is contracted, it effectively closes up the openings of your vagina, urethra and anus. When it’s relaxed, it lets urine and faeces exit your body, and allows you to have sex.
Pelvic floor dysfunction is a condition whereby you’re unable to contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles to pass urine or bowel movements, or have sex.
Pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms may include any or several of the following:
There are a few reasons why pelvic floor dysfunction might occur. Often, the pelvic floor muscles become weaker due to pressure (such as through being pregnant, overweight or experiencing constipation), age (muscles weaken over time), and a lack of muscle strength.
Some of the most common causes include:
If you’re experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction, there are a few things you can do to treat and manage your symptoms.
First things first: get along to a women’s health specialist (like a gynaecologist or pelvic health physiotherapist) to get an assessment of your pelvic floor. They’ll be able to pinpoint what’s really going on, and guide you on the right treatment pathways for your specific issues.
Prevention is always better than cure. Performing pelvic floor exercises (also known as kegels) is much like toning any other muscle – regular “workouts” will help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to minimise the risk of dysfunction. In saying that, you can also do kegels to treat existing pelvic floor dysfunction.
The Elvie kegel trainer is a fantastic addition to your exercise routine – it takes pelvic floor exercises up a notch by giving you real-time feedback on your muscle contractions.
Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause painful intercourse, also known as dyspareunia. Controlling the level of penetration during sex may help minimise the pain so you can continue to enjoy fun times with your partner or toy. The Ohnut is a great tool that allows you to choose how deep your partner or toy goes.
If you’re experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms following childbirth, using an Ab wrap can help support your postpartum abdominal wall and pelvis. It allows you to move freely and breathe easily even while wearing it – truly ideal for allowing your pelvic floor muscles to recover.
We also recommend seeing your doctor, who might suggest other ways to manage or treat your pelvic floor dysfunction.