Our bodies are incredibly complex systems. Every part is connected. This means that when one area of your body is experiencing dysfunction or distress, it can have an impact on other areas as well. Did you know there is a connection between the pelvic floor and the gut? Generally, when we think of gut issues, we think of diet, exercise and lifestyle, but there’s another factor that can contribute to digestive problems: pelvic floor dysfunction. Let’s dive in.
The pelvis houses many important organs related to digestion, including the intestines, bladder, reproductive organs, and rectum. These organs are all connected via a network of nerves. When there is pelvic floor dysfunction, these nerves can become inflamed or irritated due to tightness or weakness in the muscles surrounding them. This inflammation leads to digestive issues like constipation, bloating, gas pain and diarrhea—all of which disrupt gut health over time if they are not addressed properly.
What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) occurs when the muscles in your pelvis become weak or tight, leading to pain in the lower back, hips, groin, or abdomen. This can cause pain or discomfort in areas like your bladder, rectum, and uterus. In women, PFD can also lead to urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, among other symptoms. Symptoms will vary depending on how long you’ve had them and the severity of their condition.
Childbirth, chronic constipation, or even weak muscles can cause pelvic floor dysfunction. The pelvic floor consists of tissues and layers of muscles that support our organs in the lower body. Again, issues occur when these muscles are weakened or overactive. Symptoms may present as:
- Overactive bladder
- Bowel movement issues
- Painful sex
- Pain with inserting tampons, cups, etc.
- Diastasis recti
- Pelvic organ prolapse
How Does Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Impact Gut Health?
When the muscles that make up the pelvic floor are weakened or overactive, it can lead to a number of different gastrointestinal issues such as:
- Acid reflux
- Even irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
This is because when those muscles become weak, the amount of blood flow to our digestive organs like our stomachs and intestines decreases. With decreased blood flow comes not only decreased function but also an increase in inflammation which leads to further symptoms like abdominal cramping and bloating as well as pain during defecation.
Pelvic floor dysfunction has many different effects on the body, but one of the most common is a decrease in digestive efficiency. This happens because when the pelvic floor muscles are weak or too tight, they cannot properly support and move food through the digestive tract. As a result, digestion doesn’t work properly. This leads to a range of digestive issues like bloating, gas, abdominal pain and discomfort. Additionally, it can also cause constipation and diarrhea due to an imbalance in the muscles and nerves around the digestive system.
Managing PFD Symptoms
If you are already experiencing symptoms related to pelvic floor dysfunction, then there are steps you can take to manage them more effectively. One of the main goals should be to reduce stress levels as this can have a direct impact on gut health and worsen PFD symptoms. Additionally, focusing on lifestyle changes such as eating healthy foods and regularly exercising will also help improve overall gut health while managing any existing PFD symptoms at the same time. Finally, if you are struggling with severe symptoms then seeking professional advice from a medical specialist may be necessary in order for them to assess your individual needs and give you appropriate treatment options accordingly.
Treating Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Treatment forpPelvic floor dysfunction is available. Treatment options include pelvic floor physical therapy exercises designed to strengthen those muscles and restore healthy function. Physical therapists may use manual therapy for soft tissue release as well as exercises for muscle strength training to help patients regain normal function quickly and effectively (like kegels). Kegels are perhaps the most well-known exercise for pelvic floor health but there are other exercises that you should incorporate into your routine too such as simple stretching and breathing techniques. These exercises help increase blood flow to the area and strengthen the muscles so that they can better support digestion. These exercises target the muscles surrounding the pelvic organs with a combination of stretching and strengthening movements that help reduce pain while restoring strength and flexibility to the area.
In addition to physical therapy exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, lifestyle modifications (as mentioned above) such as avoiding caffeine or spicy foods may also help reduce symptoms associated with this condition. You may also want to talk to your doctor about avoiding certain activities like high-impact sports in order to further protect your pelvic health from potential damage caused by overexertion.
Hope for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Do not ignore pelvic floor dysfunction. It’s important to be aware that there could be an underlying cause contributing to your digestion problems that may require treatment from a physical therapist trained in women’s health conditions. Think you may have pelvic floor dysfunction-related gut health issues? Then don’t hesitate – seek help today! With proper care you can get back on track towards better digestive health!
By regularly exercising your pelvic floor muscles, reducing stress levels, eating healthy foods, and speaking with professionals when needed, you will be able to keep both your pelvic floor muscle strength and your gut health in top shape!
P.S. Don’t forget to visit my shop page for more, including my very own ebooks to get you started on your gut health journey!
DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE
All the information on this website, including, but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.