How Do I Know If I Have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction - Legacy Physical Therapy
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How Do I Know If I Have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction


Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, may be something that you’ve never heard of or heard the phrase but not sure what it truly means, well today we are going to give you an overview! 

So, first and foremost, what is the pelvic floor?  At the very bottom of the pelvis, is a group of muscles that are collectively called our pelvic floor muscles. There is a superficial layer of pelvic floor muscles and there is a deeper layer of Pelvic Floor Muscles. And they all form a bowl on the bottom of your pelvis. Just like muscles anywhere else in the body, these can have issues as well. 

These muscles can be too tight, too weak, they can strained or not coordinate together well, just like any other muscles in the body. These muscles can be the source of pain, either the muscles themselves or cause pain in areas a little further away and can often be an asymptomatic cause. Because of this, it can sometimes be hard to figure out if you are dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction. 

To assist with this, we are going to talk through a screening tool that a colleague, another women’s health physical therapist, Nicole Cozean has created called the “Cozean Pelvic Dysfunction Screening” and it is a wonderful questionnaire that you can do to figure out if you may be dealing with Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. These are all yes or No Questions. 

The first question is “do you ever have pelvic pain”, pelvic pain can be any pain in the genitals, in the perineum area, the pubic bone, the bladder or pain with urination or bowel movements. if you ever have Pelvic Pain that exceeds a 3 on a 1 to 10 scale, where 10 is the worst to manageable, then you want to circle YES. Any type of pain in this area may be a signal that you’re dealing with Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. 

The 2nd question is “have you ever had any falls onto your tailbone, low back or buttocks area”. This includes anything from a long time ago like if you remember falling off a slide and landing on your butt as a kid.  Circle YES if you have. 

Question number 3, “have you ever experienced any of these urinary symptoms? These include: accidental loss of urine with coughing, laughing, sneezing or exercise, accidental loss of urine with a strong uncontrollable urge.Things that would fall into this category include feeling a strong urge to go but you didn’t make it to the restroom in time or feeling difficulty with emptying your bladder completely, having pain or burning with urination, any difficulty starting urinary or frequent stopping and starting of the urine stream. If you experience any of these symptoms circle YES. 

Question number 4, “do you often or occasionally have to get up at night to urinate 2 or more times a night”. YES or NO. 

Question number 5, “do you ever have a feeling of increased pelvic pressure or a sensation that your pelvic organs are slipping down or falling out.” YES or NO 

Question 6, “Do you have a history of any of these orthopedic pain conditions? Low back pain, hip pain, sciatica, groin pain or tailbone pain. YES or NO

It may seem unrelated but a Yes to this question may be a sign that you are dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction. If you had treatment for these conditions but didn’t see any improvement, the pelvic floor may be the missing part of the treatment if they did not evaluate the pelvic floor. 

Question 7: “do you ever experience any of the following bowel symptoms?” loss of bowel control with cough, laugh or sneeze. Loss of bowel control with a strong uncontrollable urge, feeling that you can’t completely empty your bowels. Experiencing increased pain with the bowel movement. Frequently having to strain to have a bowel movement or having difficulty initiating a bowel movement. YES or NO, if it’s only occurring sporadically, it still a YES.

Question 8: “do you ever experience pain or discomfort with sexual activity or intercourse?” YES or NO

Question 9: “, does sexual activity increase any of your symptoms?” YES or NO 

Question 10: “ Does prolonged sitting increase any of your symptoms?” YES or NO

These are all the questions in the Cozean Pelvic Dysfunction Screening tool. 

Overall, one yes here or there, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have pelvic floor dysfunction, but if you have 3 or more yes’s, then it is highly likely that you are dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction and may benefit from talking to a pelvic floor physical therapist. We will be able to fully evaluate what is going on with you and see how we can help improve your symptoms. Give us a call and talk to one of our pelvic health therapists.