What are the Causes Of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

Pelvic region with flower

Pelvic floor dysfunction can bring about discomfort or pain for various reasons. I work with women, and more recently some men as well, in addressing some of the causes and help shed some light into how to address them.

These are 4 of the most common causes of pelvic floor dysfunction I have come across in my practice:

  1. Muscle Tension or Weakness: Think of it like when you’re stressed and your shoulders tense up – except this happens down there. Sometimes, our pelvic floor muscles tighten up from stress, anxiety, or just holding in too much tension. Other times, they get weak from not getting enough exercise or from the strain of things like pregnancy and childbirth. Either way, when they’re not in balance, it can lead to some uncomfortable feelings.
  2. Inflammation: Sometimes, our pelvic organs or tissues get inflamed from things like infections, hormonal changes, or conditions like endometriosis. And when things down there are inflamed, it can definitely bring on some pain and discomfort.
  3. Nerve Issues: The nerves in the pelvic floor can act up and when they do it can feel like a numb sensation or more of an uncomfortable sense of tingling like when your leg gets pins and needles. They might get irritated from sitting too long, doing the same movements over and over, or even just from the pressure of things like pregnancy or carrying a bit of extra weight. When our pelvic nerves act up, it can definitely make things down there feel pretty uncomfortable.
  4. Organ Positioning: There’s a number of reasons why the organs in our pelvic floor area  can change position, but when they do it can be uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s from things like pregnancy or getting older, and sometimes it’s just from putting too much strain on our bodies. Chronic stress and unconscious holding patterns can bring organ prolapse. When our organs shift downward, it can create that uncomfortable pressure or heavy feeling in our pelvic area.

Pelvic dysfunction and discomfort during sex

Discomfort during sex is surprisingly common. This discomfort, known as dyspareunia, can stem from various causes, including issues with our pelvic floor. Factors like not having enough lubrication or tight muscles can make things uncomfortable. Other factors like past surgeries, childbirth trauma, inflammation, hormonal changes, or even psychological factors like anxiety or depression can also play a role.

Postpartum causes of pelvic dysfunction

After giving birth, many of us may experience urinary incontinence or pelvic pain. Weak pelvic floor muscles, often due to childbirth or hormonal changes, can lead to leaks when we laugh or cough. Pelvic pain might come from tears, muscle trauma, or hormonal shifts, making everyday activities a bit of a challenge.

These symptoms can really disrupt our daily lives, making tasks like caring for our newborns or going back to work more challenging. Plus, they can affect our emotional well-being and intimate relationships. Ignoring these signs could lead to more serious problems down the road, so it’s important to address them early on for better pelvic health.

Other symptoms of pelvic dysfunction

A feeling of pelvic pressure or bulging can be a sign of pelvic organ prolapse, where organs like the uterus or bladder shift from their usual spot.

If you’ve ever felt like something is weighing you down in your pelvic area,  weak pelvic muscles and ligaments may be the cause..

Understanding all of this can help us recognise symptoms, seek help when needed, and work towards better pelvic health and overall well-being. As a Feldenkrais and embodied awareness practitioner, I’m here to support you on this journey to feeling more comfortable and empowered in your own body.

I run a Pelvic Potency programs throughout the year which offer experiential awareness of how the pelvic floor is connected to, and affected by, the rest of the body.

What are the causes of pelvic floor dysfunction?
What are the causes of pelvic floor dysfunction?
What are the causes of pelvic floor dysfunction?

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